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Reception of pellets and microplastics, usual task for 'Mater'

  • It has been collecting marine waste around the Basque coast for over 20 years, such as pallets and microplastics. He warns that plastic pellets have not yet reached our destination, but they can reach "at any time."

31 January 2024 - 07:29

By the end of 2023 thousands of plastic pellets arrived on the Galician coast, as on 8 December a ship lost cargo in the Portuguese sea. It has not yet been demonstrated that these new pallets of that spill reach the Basque coast, but the Mater Museum of Ecoactive Vessels warns that they can reach any time. Despite being a topical issue, for Mater’s “it’s not new news”, as they have been working on it for years, they have spent more than 20 years collecting marine waste surrounding the Basque coast.

They've targeted data. With the Seabin Pasaia project in Mater, over 1.8 million microplastics have been collected in the last three years, of which more than 90,000 have been pallets. The concentration of microplastics is studied on the Gipuzkoan beaches through the Erronka Marine Residue Educational Project. About 400 young people participate in this project.

“To the surprise of some people, the Gulf of Bizkaia is no exception to the plastification of the oceans. The first references date back to the end of the 1990s and some of their contributions include the Gulf of Bizkaia as a dead end. This is due to special physical oceanography, high river concentration and population density.” Thus, according to this study, the coastal waters of the southeastern Gulf of Bizkaia are “a hot spot” of plastics and microplastics.

Mater recalls that these microplastics are “dangerous” to biodiversity and human health: “Toxic chemical additives in the material, pathogens and other toxic substances that absorb the environment make microplastics one of the largest sources of marine pollution. Marine fauna ingests these particles, conditioning their food and promoting starvation, so people enter the trophic chain we are part of. We ingest 5 kilograms of plastic a week, eating, drinking or breathing, through foods that can cause hormonal changes, diseases and other negative health effects,” they add.

Citizens are advised not to go to the beaches “to avoid burying the pissed sticks”.

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