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With the installation of 11 new devices for the collection of plastics and microplastics distributed from the North to the South of the peninsula, thanks to the project LifeGate PlasticLess ® and Whirlpool, another severe blow is inflicted on plastic pollution, a real nightmare for our country. Italy, in fact, in this "field", can boast remarkable performances, unfortunately.
According to UNEP - the UN environment program - 90 tons of plastic from the 731 that end up in the Mediterranean Sea are "made in Italy", we are in fact the third polluting country of the beautiful sea that is so convenient not only for the masses of tourists it attracts. Our waters are one of the most affected areas in the world, in terms of microplastics, here we can find them 7% of the world total, a percentage that is by no means negligible especially considering the size of our peninsula compared to those of other countries.
Understanding that the problem is serious, and that it is important to do something, let's take a closer look at what has been done this time with LifeGate PlasticLess ® and in what direction they are working together to make a change, now that marine pollution is finally no longer a niche topic, by experts in the sector.
LifeGate PlasticLess ® and Whirlpool: the project
The goal of LifeGate PlasticLess ® is to protect the health of the sea and to fight against the pollution of plastic waste in the waters ports and nautical clubs. Whirlpool EMEA, a company very sensitive to issues such as the circular economy and environmental sustainability, and above all ready to take concrete actions, has chosen to support LifeGate in its commitment against microplastics by making it possible to install 11 new Sebins, devices produced by the technical partner Poralu Marine and which we will soon get to know better.
First an overview of this important project, to fully grasp its dimensions, imagine the impact it can have on our planet and understand its Future developments.
To date, the ports and nautical clubs that host the waste-eating devices are: Marina dei Cesari in Fano, Sambenedettese Nautical Club in San Benedetto del Tronto, Marina Sant'Andrea in San Giorgio di Nogaro, Marina Blu in Rimini, La Marina Dorica in Ancona, Gestiport in Senigallia, Marina di Capraia on the Island of Capraia , Nautical Sailing Club in Naples (Borgo Marinari), Marina di Lacco Ameno and Marina di Forio in Ischia, Marina Capo d'Orlando, Marina Acquatica in Alghero and the National Association of Italian Sailors in the Darsena of Milan.
To quantify the action of these devices that are going to be installed in our ports, let's take two as an example, that of Fano, in Marina dei Cesari, and that of San Benedetto del Tronto in the Sanbenedettese Nautical Club. In these waters the Seabins have collected so far over 400 kg of floating debris, equal to the weight of over 26,000 500ml plastic bottles, as well as straws and bottle caps, cigarette butts, pieces of polystyrene, food wrappers (eg snack packs) and nets used for the breeding of mussels. No doubt about it, they are very useful, in fact it is no coincidence that the project is proceeding at an excellent pace and soon will land in the UK and France.
LifeGate PlasticLess ®: the Seabins
Let's find out how these “bins” work and why they are useful. These are real baskets that, immersed in the water, are in action continuously, 24 hours a day, and they catch plastic at a rate of 1.5 kg per day, over 500 kg per year. To imagine what this means, let's take into account that 1.5 kg of plastic is equivalent to 100 bottles, but it is clear that these baskets are able to collect not only plastic waste visible to our eyes but also the tremendous microplastics, with diameters from 2 to 5 mm in diameter, and the equally dangerous microfibers 0.3 mm that enter directly into the food chain because they attach themselves to the algae ingested by fish.
Installed in ports they are particularly effective because it is in these places that the floating waste, due to the action of "daily" winds and currents, let alone when there is bad weather or storm surges. The ports are transformed into landfills and the Seabins become essential to quickly restore the cleanliness of the waters.
LifeGate PlasticLess ®: awareness raising
The waste collected in the Seabin is disposed of by the companies selected by each municipality for the collection of waste, this also makes the local administrations protagonists of the project, which in turn can raise awareness among citizens. It is important that the fight against microplastic pollution is felt by everyone and not just by those who live in contact with the sea or see the results. Also for this reason the Ministry of the Environment has launched the "Plastic Free Challenge", a competition, modeled on the Ice Bucket Challenge, to sensitize the greatest number of citizens, businesses and institutions to the elimination of disposable plastic.
The LifeGate Plasticless ® makes a great contribution to the cause, even extensively, a very important aspect in a country like Italy where it is important that all areas are involved and can benefit from actions like this. The collaboration with Whirlpool is another important element that makes this project even more exemplary. It is the demonstration of how positive and virtuous the synergies between different realities can be, especially when it comes to facing challenges such as large-scale environmental ones, where acting alone often does not reward.
Other companies could follow, in the wake, Whirlpool, imitating its sustainability strategy and commitment in the context of the circular economy. As well as in the project LifeGate Plasticless ®, as explained by Karim Bruneo, Corporate Responsibility and Government Relations Manager, EMEA, the company is committed to many other actions and participates in campaign promoted by the European Commission “Through which, by 2025, we will use more than 44,000 tons of 100% recycled plastic in the components of our appliances”.
Plastic in the Mediterranean and the 13 ports involved in the #Plasticless project
The data on the dispersion of plastic in the Mediterranean Sea are decidedly alarming:
- 731 tons of plastic end up in the Mediterranean every day, which could double by 2025
- Out of the total, Italy introduces 90 tons
- The concentration of microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea is 1.2 million / sq km
Below is an infographic that highlights the 13 ports involved in the project #Plasticless for the collection of plastic thanks to Seabin.
- Download the complete infographic
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