Marine plastics in Mediterranean islands: evaluating the distribution and composition of plastic pollution in the surface waters along four islands of the Western Sea Basin

Plastic debris is currently recognized as one of the major threats to marine organisms and ecosystems. 

This study assessed the spatial distribution of sea surface plastics in marine protected and non-protected areas in the NW Mediterranean. For this purpose, 65 sea surface trawls were carried out along the coastal waters of Mallorca, the Parque Nacional Marítimo Terrestre del Archipiélago de Cabrera and Menorca in the Balearic Islands as well as along the coastal waters of the Columbretes Islands Marine Reserve. 

The results show that plastic particles were found at each sampling site and in all samples. No microscale nor mesoscale variability in floating marine plastics abundance was encountered throughout the study area. 

It is concluded that this study provides further evidence of the ubiquity of plastics in the marine environment and highlights that remote and protected areas, such as Columbretes, are not exempt from plastic pollution, but receptor areas for small and aged floating plastics composed mainly of fragments, which might have potentially harmful effects on protected ecosystems.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0269749122004821

Fagiano et al. (2022) Marine plastics in Mediterranean islands: evaluating the distribution and composition of plastic pollution in the surface waters along four islands of the Western Sea Basin. Environmental Pollutionn 305:119268.