It is invisible to the naked eye, but it kills fish, mollusks and cetaceans, turtles. But not only that, humans are also at risk. It is called Mediterranean Vortex and is located off Capraia, the island in the Tuscan archipelago. The killer accumulation of invisible microplastics was discovered by researchers in the “Plastic Buster” project Cristina Fossi and Letizia Marsili of the biomakers laboratory at the University of Siena.
Why is this aggregation of plastic invisible to the naked eye murderous? The answer is simple and chilling. These micropollutants, which are nothing more than plastic thrown into the sea that shreds into tiny particles, even under five millimeters, are swallowed with water by the animals that inhabit these seas, accumulate in their bodies (plastic survives at least 450 years) until they die.
A whale every time it opens its mouth filters 70 thousand of water, going so far as to ingest as many as 100 thousand lethal microparticles a day.
But the danger is not only to marine inhabitants; it also threatens human health. “We have seen” emphasizes Cristina Fossi “that Mediterranean whales have high concentrations of pollutants, particularly flatates, chemicals that are used to make plastics soft and can damage the human endocrine system, causing cancers and interfering with reproduction“.
The “Plastic Buster” project for now only covers the marine area called the Cetacean Sanctuary, 87,500 square kilometers between Tyrrhenian Italy, France and Monaco where the largest amount of marine mammals in the entire Mediterranean Sea, the most exposed to the killer whirlpool, are concentrated. Perhaps it is best to extend the search to the rest of the Mediterranean as soon as possible.