A group of young people surfing in the Las Americas coast, in the municipality of Adeje, last Sunday, January 19, has uploaded to social networks some images that are already viral: they take plastic remains of up to three different products from the stomach of a sea bass, including a pack of cigarettes.
Thousands of people have already echoed the video and they have shared it with the purpose of raising public awareness about this plague that is reaching alarming levels throughout the world, including the Canary Islands.
Plastics, a threat to the sea
The microplastics they are plastic particles smaller than five millimeters in size, which come mainly from photodegradation and fragmentation processes of larger plastics, but they can also be microspheres used in cosmetic products, synthetic fibers from clothing, or resin pellets, also known as ‘mermaid tears’, which are used as raw material for the manufacture of plastic products.
The Gulf Stream and its downward branch, the Canary Current, they bring waste from different areas of the planet to the coasts that accumulate in the areas exposed to prevailing winds and currents, turning them into points of special interest to study the phenomenon of marine pollution, especially in specific places on the northern slope of the islands.
The studies about the effects of this pollution on marine biota have already discovered some very worrying data, which show that the warning that in 1970 was launched by researcher Edward Carpenter, about the possible effects of plastic pollution, is today a reality and a problem of great magnitude for the Canary Islands and for the entire planet.
The waste who arrive at the coast can take years at sea and make thousands of kilometers before being stranded on our beaches. “Our islands constitute a natural barrier against these currents and act as collectors of marine litter found in the North Atlantic,” explains the BIOMAR project coordinator, May Gómez, who points out that it is a priority to study the effect that may be having these pollutants on marine life in this area.
Especially, in areas located on the northern slope of the islands, such as Famara in Lanzarote, The quarries in Gran Canaria, Benijo in Tenerife or La Fajana in La Palma, which are becoming dumps when they are affected by the arrival of all those plastics.