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World Oceans Day Moves Thousands To Clean Up Beaches in Spain

  • Volunteers take part in a coastal cleanup on Laida beach near Bermeo, Spain June 8, 2019.

    Volunteers take part in a coastal cleanup on Laida beach near Bermeo, Spain June 8, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 8 June 2019

Plastic-related pollution is a serious problem that negatively affects ecosystems on land and in the waters around the world.

Over 2,500 Spanish volunteers and 300 divers are cleaning up beaches along the Basque coastline Saturday as part of the June 8 World Oceans Day.


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"Plastic waste is a serious environmental problem affecting seas and oceans above all. In Spain it is the biggest catastrophe we can imagine," said marine biologist Manu San Felix.

The clean-ups carried out in Spain are part of a broader, world-wide World Oceans Day created by the United Nations that promotes the reduction of plastic wastes.

"We have officially eliminated the single-use plastics from the UN headquarters. This is great news because we have to practice what we preach," explained the UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa, who launched the "Play It Out" campaign.

The debate on plastics has gained strength in recent years, especially after the media has reported on the large islands of waste floating in the world's seas. According to U.N. data, between eight million and 12 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans per year, and can remain there for centuries before decomposing.

Much of this waste is a one-time product, meaning it is used once, then thrown out. It is estimated that one million plastic bottles are sold every minute in the world. This trash kills about 100,000 ocean animals each year.

Even when plastic waste decomposes, water sources remain contaminated with microplastic particles consumed by fish and, later, by humans.

"More than 134 species are contaminated by ingestion of plastics in the Mediterranean, which is already the world's most polluted sea, although we are not aware of all we have lost," San Felix lamented who added, "humans have already killed 99 percent of Mediterranean sharks."

According to a 2017 study, 83 percent of tap water used in the world currently contains plastic particles that have also been found in human feces.

Another study, carried out by Philipp Schwabl, a hepatologist at the University of Vienna in Austria, analyzed human feces from inhabitants of different countries. Despite diet difference, what remained the same was the amount of microplastics: between 18 and 172 different particles per 10 grams.

London is celebrating World Oceans Day with performances, workshops and talks at the National Maritime Museum.

“There will be a pop-up exhibition in Soho, central London, by the Project O initiative as part of Soho Music Month, as well as an opportunity to dress up in blue at a Greenpeace 'human wave' from Westminster Bridge to the Foreign Office,” reported News Sky.

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