Plastic pollution is today one of the most serious environmental problems affecting the oceans. Once in the natural environment, plastic can take up to 500 years to disappear and impacts wildlife on a daily basis. Drifting between two bodies of water it can strangle or smother any number of animal species. The danger goes further: under the influence of the sun, it fragments into microplastics that are ingested by fish and so enter the food chain. It is therefore also a potential threat to human health.
However, more than 8 million metric tons of plastics are discharged into the sea every year...
Action is already being taken
Awareness of environmental and health issues related to ocean plastic pollution is now universal and shared by the general public, industry and politicians.
With several of its partners, the Veolia Foundation is involved, most particularly in the Mediterranean. The Tara expeditions provided the opportunity to conduct operations to measure plastic and microplastic pollution in the Mediterranean. They also provided the basis for public awareness campaigns on the subject.
The Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco (FPA2) is also very committed to this theme of ocean plastics: in 2015, it launched the “Beyond Plastic Med” (BeMed) initiative in the Mediterranean with the Veolia Foundation.
Continuing on from Tara Méditerranée, an expedition supported by the Veolia Foundation in 2014, a program - Plastic in the Mediterranean Sea - has been launched to support research and technological innovation. The Fondation Tara will make its boat available to scientists and educators. The mission will notably provide a better understanding of the plastics and microplastics flows found in Toulon harbour and will raise the awareness of the public and decision-makers about the best solutions for combatting ocean plastic pollution.
Advocacy will be accompanied by a series of exhibitions for the general public on the theme of ocean plastic. The schooner Tara will tour Europe making stops in several major ports and as far as Paris.
Finally, the BeMed call for projects organized by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco with the Veolia Foundation, has been extended. The Veolia Foundation continues to support actions and is involved in setting up a BeMed Club - a platform of NGOs, manufacturers and those offering solutions to fight plastic pollution in the Mediterranean. This network of committed actors will implement effective and sustainable solutions and encourage widespread action.