Beaches are one of the environments most affected by the increasingly widespread phenomenon of Littering, or the abandonment of waste in nature and in public areas. This is confirmed by the survey data Beach Litter 2019 conducted by Legambiente.
From the report it emerged that for every step we take on the Italian coasts, we encounter more than five waste, at least ten for every meter traveled.
Beach Litter 2019 data
The investigation by the environmental association was conducted on 93 beaches, for a total of about 400 thousand square meters. During the monitoring, 90,049 waste was found, with an average of 968 every 100 linear meters. Most of them, 81%, is made up of plastic, with an average number of 784 waste per 100 meters.
But as Legambiente explains, in addition to plastic, "everything is now invading our coasts: objects of all shapes, materials, sizes, colors". The list is really long and includes pieces of polystyrene, caps, drink lids, cigarette butts, cotton buds but also construction material, with over 4 thousand waste due to illegal spills on the beach.
There is no shortage of disposable items on the list, among the main enemies of marine ecosystems. From the data of Beach Litter it is assumed that every 100 meters of the beach there are 34 dishes, including plates, glasses, cutlery and straws, and 45 plastic bottles. Numbers that inevitably arouse apprehension in those who care about the health of the environment, if we consider the consequences that marine pollution produces on biodiversity.
Biodiversity and Marine Litter
It is Legambiente itself that underlines how dangerous waste is for the survival of many marine species. In the relationship Biodiversity at risk 2018the environmental association denounces that among the main victims of the Marine Litter there are turtles, seabirds such as the shearwater, as well as the fin whale, the only mysticet living in the Mediterranean Sea, classified as endangered by the red lists of the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature). In fact, by feeding the fin whale in addition to krill it swallows large quantities of macro and microplastics.
The European directive banning single use plastics
Good news on the front of the fight againstplastic pollution these days they come from Europe. The EU Council has given the formal green light to the directive that from 2021 will ban various single-use plastic items including plates, cutlery and straws. Member States have also made further commitments, such as reaching a collection quota for plastic bottles of 90% by 2029.
Certainly this step taken in the political field will bear fruit but it is up to each of us to make their contribution with small daily gestures, starting with more conscious purchases up to greater respect for the environment that surrounds us and represents our first real home.