The model of sustainable tourism should probably be checked with this opportunity of COVID-19. You might remember the irony that became prevalent during Clean the Earth Marathon when people carried banners and some others wore customised shirts to voice out their grievances against people depositing waste around and showing their concerns for mother Earth.
At the end of the race, they left the distance covered with litters; mostly paper cups. Well, that was a marathon. Tourism can as well be a stinging area when it comes to addressing littering.
Researchers have discovered that the use of the Mediterranean beaches for recreational purposes is responsible for about 80% of marine litter – most of which are in plastics – that have accumulated around these beaches. The impact of the present tourism model on the Mediterranean beach cannot therefore be subsided not to think avoided.
Through the last four years, researchers have analysed the effects waste generated by tourism has caused eight islands on the Mediterranean. These litters include microplastics which can include any manufactured, processed or persistent physical material disposed in the coastal or marine environment. It is no doubt a result of human activity and this makes these litters available in all oceans and seas of the world.
This is an environmental concern that threatens the health of ecosystems that serve the marine. It can as well lead to loss of biodiversity. It often results in huge impacts on the economies of these coastal communities who depend on ecosystem services such as beach cleaning, waste disposal and public health for their survival.
Approximately one-third of the world’s tourists visit the Mediterranean every year. And well, this number affects these beaches. In fact, during high seasons, the visitors increase by up to 20. This poses a problem to the municipalities who will have to cope with the waste generated from these beaches. Indeed, coastal tourism is a mainland source of overbearing marine litter.
One hundred and forty seven litter surveys were conducted in the season of 2017’s high and low. Twenty four beaches were sampled on eight differently located Mediterranean islands. The results came in shockingly as a huge majority of the items gathered were made of plastics. This represents about 94% of marine litter.
The situation tilts a little bit during summer. On the average, 330 refuse items accumulate on the beach per day on the most popular beaches. This means that you find one item in every three steps you take. These items often range from straws, drink cans, cigarette butts, soda paper cups representing a whole 65% of the entire existence of marine letters.
After the 2019 Citizen Awareness Campaign however, the results portrayed a 50% decrease when marine litters are associated with visitors. Looks like Good News. Well, the beaches themselves still hope their visitors become more considerate when disposing of plastic materials.