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Winter storms reveal shocking extent of plastic pollution

Shore littered with marine debris

  • Video: Rebecca Dalli

  • Debris collected over the summer. Photos: Aquaventure

    Debris collected over the summer. Photos: Aquaventure

Updated at 12.45pm with dive initiative

A video sent in by a reader reveals the relentless onslaught of plastic in the ocean which gets washed up onto our shores, which may not be as obvious when beaches are regularly cleaned in the swimming season.

This video was taken at Ghajn Tuffieha but there are numerous examples from around the island every time there is a storm.

Of the 260 million tons of plastic the world produces each year, about 10% ends up in the Ocean, according to a Greenpeace report.

E-NGO Ocean Crusaders reports that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibres per square kilometre litter the deep sea.

This turtle, rescued by Nature Trust, succumbed to its injuries.This turtle, rescued by Nature Trust, succumbed to its injuries.

And poor habits exacerbate the problem: shoppers worldwide use approximately 500 billion plastic bags per year while annual consumption of plastic bottles is set to top half a trillion by 2021 in spite of various recycling and re-use campaigns, and legislation.

Read: Two UK supermarkets push for plastic bottle deposit scheme

Read: 70% of plastic bottles to be recovered by 2019, pledges Joseph Muscat

The plastic is not only unsightly but also dangerous for marine life: 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement and approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic.

Read: Rescued turtle dies because of marine debris

Rebecca Dalli, who sent in this video, believes that awareness is the key to reducing the amount that gets into the ocean in the first place. But she also encourages people to organise clean-ups - even as individuals on their weekend walks.

Dive centre urges others to join in

Aquaventure, a dive centre at the Mellieha Bay Hotel, has done just that: it 'adopted' the reef as part of the Project Aware Foundation initiative.

"We regularly undertake a 'dive for debris' and make it our aim to educate our divers and students to responsibly remove at least one piece of rubbish every dive," a spokeswoman said.

For more information about Project Aware please see www.projectaware.org or e-mail them on info@projectaware.org.uk

Have you got any pictures of plastic pollution? Send the to mynews@timesofmalta.com.

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