Israeli Mediterranean beaches are polluted with more than 2 million tonnes of microplastics, according to a recent study conducted by Tel Aviv University (TAU) and the Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel.
By examining beach sand samples in the lab, the team found that the sources of plastic contamination in Israel’s western shore include food packaging, single-use plastic products, and fishing nets.
The study also found that the most polluted beaches are in Tel Aviv and Hadera, both cities located near stream estuaries.
The stream waters carry microplastic particles into the sea, thereby intensifying beach contamination, the team explained.
Plastics of land origin, such as food packaging, were more dominant than plastics of sea origin, such as fishing nets, indicating a need for better regulation of coastal waste, according to the study.
Environmental conditions slowly break this plastic down into even smaller particles, making it harder to be removed from the environment, and more dangerous to the environment and human health, the team said.
The microplastic particles that drift into the sea are swallowed by fish, and their remains eventually reach humans.