The Mediterranean Sea is accumulating large zones of plastic debris that is effecting wildlife and threatening fisheries, according to a report on the BBC News website.
A study found approximately 1000 tonnes of plastic floating on the surface of the Mediterranean Sea, consisting of the fragments of bottles, bags and wrappings.
The study also found plastic in the stomachs of birds, whales, fish and turtles as well as minute sized pieces of plastic in oysters and mussels grown on the coasts of northern Europe.
Commenting on the study, Dr David Morritt of Royal Holloway, University of London, said scientists were particularly concerned about "microplastics"- very small pieces of plastic that are less than 5mm in length. The study found more than 80 per cent of plastic in the Mediterranean Sea fell into this category.
Dr Morritt told BBC News: "These very small plastic fragments lend themselves to being swallowed by marine species, potentially releasing chemicals into the gut from the plastics."
"Plastic doesn't degrade in the environment - we need to think much more carefully about how we dispose of it, recycle it, and reduce our use of it,” he added.
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