EXCLUSIVE: Mallorca plastic pollution problem ‘getting worse’, says Palma Aquarium official

'Urgent need' to tackle issue, says Debora Morrison

LAST UPDATED: 3 Aug, 2017 @ 10:20
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  • PALMA Aquarium has blasted the plastic pollution harming Mallorca’s marine life.

In a damning interview its conservation boss insists the problem is ‘getting worse’ and there is an ‘urgent need’ to tackle it or face seeing hundreds more turtles, sharks and dolphins die.

AT RISK: Marine life threatened by plastic pollution

It comes after the Olive Press revealed that the authorities are being probed over the alleged illegal use of plastics in the expansion of the Muelle de Ponent port in Palma.

“The rubbish we find in the sea is just horrendous,” Aquarium director Debora Morrison told the Olive Press.

“It is very rare we do not find a turtle that is not affected by plastic.

“Seven years ago one of the major problems was fishing hooks. Now most of our animals – I would say 90% – are entangled in plastic or ropes.

“We had one recently with a quarter of her shell missing. She was wrapped up in a massive ball of plastic and ropes. We operated on her yesterday.”

She added: “It is definitely getting worse.”

Morrison’s team has been subcontracted by the Mallorca government to rescue and rehabilitate turtles, sharks and dolphins since 2014.

And as the summer months bring tourist crowds to the island, the problem of rubbish polluting the sea only gets worse.

It comes after the Olive Press joined environmentalists to investigate the serious leak of 20,000 tonnes of molten skag, allegedly includung burned plastic, onto nearby shores to the Palma port works, last issue.

In the same week, Morrison’s team was unable to save a shark that washed up on a Mallorca beach with a seven centimetre hook in her.

“The shark was catatonic and dehydrated,” she explained.

Morrison, originally from Leicestershire, has worked at the Aquarium for ten years and lived in Mallorca for the past 40 years.

“I think plastic pollution is a particular problem here because our resources are not managed,” she continued.

“We are a population of 1.3 million but in five months of summer we receive 13 million people, which generates a lot or rubbish.

“Plastic bags dropped in the street will end up in the sea. We need to change our habits.”

She has also called on the government to recycle plastic on the island instead of shipping it to Barcelona.

“I think that would help solved a lot of problems,” she said. “And the costs of transportation are high.

“It would be more sustainable and could be made into sunglasses or picture frames here.”

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