The Cetacean Sanctuary was established in Italy in 1991 by the Ministry of the Environment and it's located within the Pelagos Sanctuary for the protection of marine mammals in the Mediterranean which is a marine protected area included in the French, Monegasque and Italian seas.
The Cetacean Sanctuary covers an area of about 25,573 km² in the Regione Liguria, Sardegna e Toscana.
Particular chemical-physical characteristics induced both by the morphology and circulation of the waters make this stretch of sea one of the richest areas of life in the Mediterranean.
The currents doesn't sort among what to transport and so they concentrate in that area anything that floats or is suspended in the water.
Almost all of the waste and plastics that pollute the sea come from the civil, industrial and agricultural waste that flows into the rivers and the Mediterranean is surrounded by rivers that come from large economies, large cities and densely populated territories. The currents move this waste and you're done; they accumulate in the Sanctuary of Cetaceans.
The area is also at risk of hydrocarbon pollution because of the presence on its coasts of ports and industrial activities; moreover, the presence of the Genoa Multiedo and Marseille oil terminals generates significant tanker traffic. The accident of the Jolly Nero ship, the collision between the Tunisian motorship Ulisse and the container ship Cls Virginia, the accident of the tanker Lia Ievoli, the sinking of the oil tanker Haven although it happened almost thirty years ago, just to remember .
In this chapter, however, we are concentrating on floating plastics vortex.
Global models consistently predict some of the highest concentrations of floating plastics in the world to occur in the Mediterranean Sea, to the extent that together with the main five oceanic gyres, it has been proposed as the sixth great accumulation zone for marine litter
In the following map of the concentrations of plastic debris in surface waters in the Mediterranean Sea it takes evidence the presence of highest concentrations just under coast of Liguria and Toscana.
On 2019 June the 19th a monitoring campaign at sea started; it's carried by the University of Siena and the Cima Foundation within the Plastic Busters MPAs project dedicated both to collecting data on the presence of plastic and to monitor the animal life in the area.
For all of the above or that you can find at the following references and in the bibliography on the web, it is absolutely necessary "to do" something in order to not definitely kill neither the Mediterranean nor our Planet in its entirety.
These activities must be in several forms: the prevention and consequent awareness of the populations aimed at favoring a sustainable use of plastics and in particular the drastic reduction of their consumption as disposable products such as packaging and tableware; the drastic reduction in industrial production of plastics that are not absolutely necessary; the replacement of plastic polymers with biodegradable materials of natural derivation; the control and disqualification of plastic inputs into rivers and last but not least the greatest possible reduction of plastics already present in the sea.
The last point, the need for reclamation of existing pollution, is very easy to understand.
If you are injured it's very important to research and establish the causes that led to your injury and it's equally important to establish future behaviors that avoid further injury. But the absolutely necessary thing, immediately and first of all, is to heal the wound: before that an infection starts, before that a gangrene rises, before that the damage is irretrievable, before it kills you.
All the necessary interventions, prevention, awareness raising, social and industrial reorganization and reclamation can only be achieved with the involvement of all the necessary players. Three National States are involved in the Cetacean Sanctuary: Italy, France and the Principality of Monaco. In Italy, the bodies of national importance are involved: the Ministry of the Environment and the Protection of the Territory and the Sea, the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA) and the Regional Agencies for Environmental Protection (ARPA) . It is also necessary to consider both the territories crossed by the rivers that flow into that area and the rivers that flow into its vicinity. Thus the Magra, Serchio, Santerno, Senio, Paglia, Cecina, Bruna, Elsa, Sieve, Pesa, Era, Cornia rivers also contribute, as well as Tevere, Arno, Reno, Ombrone, Aniene and the rivers Santo, Coghinas, Liscia and Cedrino.
So they are involved the Regioni Liguria, Toscana, Lazio, Sardegna and Umbria as well as their municipalities overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
All that can be done to reduce the damage is useful but it is also very important to act in accordance with the best practices for protecting the environment implementing policies that respect the Circular and Sustainable Economy by introducing the least than possible further pollution and generating the virtuous circle of valorisation of the intervention aiming both at the lowest possible costs for its implementation and at the greatest possible advantages of its result. Plastic garbage have an economic value on its own as they can be sold to recycling centers. The latter add value to waste by regenerating it into new materials and finally there is an economic value for recyclates on the market. Recycling also reduces the need for raw materials, again to the benefit of the environment. All without considering that the "sick" is the most care thing there should be, namely our beloved planet whose health is priceless.