Did you find trash on the beach? Report through a simple smartphone application. Thanks to these data, the European Environment Agency (EEA) hopes to be able to accurately identify waste issues and better prevent them.
EU experts have been warning for a long time that European oceans are becoming more and more like landfills. According to scientists, tons of nylon nets, plastic bottles, cigarette butts, etc. eventually scattered in the oceans and lakes of our continent, destroying the beaches of resorts and threatening the health of marine animals. Among the cetaceans surveyed in this regard, as many as 43%. There is plastic in the digestive tract, 36%. Types of seabirds. Scientists say that if an animal ingests plastic, it will block the digestive system, causing death by starvation or difficulty in reproduction. Animals representing as many as 136 marine species, including 6-7 species of sea turtles, 51 known species of seabirds and 32 species of mammals, are often entangled in marine debris (or suffocated to death after swallowing plastic).
Although trash can be found in almost every body of water and on every beach, little is known about the exact composition of liquid waste landfills and their migration. People usually don’t know the source of the garbage. To answer at least some of these questions, a special Marine Garbage Watch (MLW) app was created, with the help of this app, European residents can collect information about coastal garbage and pass it on to experts.
The plan was prepared by EEA in cooperation with the Marine Conservation Association, the Water Research Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, the North Sea Foundation and the participants of the PERSEUS FP7 research project. The application for Android devices can be downloaded here:
Versions for iPhone and iPad are coming soon.
The data collected across Europe will help to more accurately assess the garbage problem, thereby helping to protect the marine environment of our continent.
The problem of debris drift affects the entire planet. One hundred to 142 million tons of garbage are floating in the world’s oceans. Every year, as many as 10 million tons of them go to sea. It is believed to be about 70%. The rubbish sinks to the bottom, and about one third is dumped on the beach or drifting. The UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) estimates that the amount of water per square kilometer is approximately plastic parts. Ocean currents and wind spread them all over the world, although they have accumulated a lot in some places, such as in the Mediterranean, where according to experts, there are 250 million pieces of various garbage. As many as 17 kilograms of plastic were found in the carcass of a cetacean stuck on the shore of the reservoir.
One-tenth of the trash floating in the ocean is part of fishing boat equipment, which is lost or thrown into the water specially. Nylon nets are particularly dangerous because they will “catch” fish even if they are floating in the sea. Such a network can “work” for up to 600 years.
The source of garbage varies in parts of Europe. In the Northeast Atlantic, waste mainly comes from transportation and fishing. The Mediterranean is full of tourists and festivals everywhere. About 40% of the garbage there also comes from houses (such as toilet fittings) and fishing boats. There are relatively few data in the Black Sea. Most of the garbage in the Baltic Sea is related to the consumption of coastal residents. The rubbish took away the river, left the tourists and produced fishing.
Floating garbage is very durable. Cigarette butts will decompose for 1 to 5 years, a polystyrene cup (half a century), a plastic bag (up to 20 years) and a PET bottle or disposable diaper (up to 450 years) will decompose. (PAP)