A great deal of waste can accumulate on beaches. | Archive

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Analysis by the Blue Islands project has found that 80% of rubbish on three beaches in Majorca is plastic and that the average on beaches on islands in the Mediterranean as a whole is 92%.

These percentages relate to the 2019 study, for which the beaches of El Torà (Paguera), Es Caragol (Santanyi) and Sa Canova (Arta, by Son Serra de Marina) were assessed.

Michael Grelaud of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology in Barcelona presented the project's findings on Tuesday. He observed that the Mediterranean was "a trap for marine waste", which comes in from the Atlantic, from rivers, from nautical activities and other sources.

Es Caragol was the most affected beach based on the amount of waste for a 100 metre stretch. It had 25,000 items; it is a beach that is predominantly used by local people. On El Torà, which has more beachgoers and more tourists, there were just 2,500. Grelaud noted that there was no seasonal variation at the three beaches. Some of the waste that accumulates does so in winter. It can come, for instance, from fishing nets. The waste is certainly not all related to tourism.

He praised efforts to increase awareness about waste among beachgoers. Compared with the previous study in 2017, there had, for example, been a 47% reduction of marine waste on El Torà.