Researchers are warning of “inevitable” exposure to microplastics on Israeli beaches after a Tel Aviv University (TAU) study found more than two tons of tiny particles.
Samples were taken from six beaches along the Mediterranean coast, with the most polluted beaches being Tel Aviv and Hadera.
The TAU study was published in the scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. It was conducted in collaboration with the Center for Mediterranean Sea Research in Israel.
Following the study, the researchers warned that human exposure to microplastics was unavoidable given the high levels found. Microplastics have been shown to be harmful to health and the environment. Plastic particles that drift in the sea can be swallowed by fish and eventually reach humans.
Sources of plastic pollution in Israel include food packaging, single-use plastic products and fishing nets.
“It was interesting to see that land-based plastics, such as food packaging, were more dominant than marine-based plastics, such as fishing nets,” said Andrey Ethan Rubin, a PhD student who co -directed the study. “This points to the need for better regulation of coastal litter.”
The study was also led by master’s student Limor Omeysi of Dr. Ines Zucker’s lab at the Fleischman School of Engineering and the Porter School of Environmental and Earth Sciences.
Dr Zucker also called for more regulatory measures “to reduce Israel’s contribution to microplastic pollution in the Mediterranean”.