A study shows the Mediterranean contains 1,000 to 3,000 tons of floating plastic, with an unknown quantity on the seabed. AFP / Filippo MONTEFORTE
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SAN BENEDETTO DEL TRONTO, Italy: On a moonlit night off Italy's coast, fishermen are hauling in the usual catch: cuttlefish, red mullet and plastic waste.Since it started, the fishermen have collected around a ton of waste a week for a month, of which 60 percent is plastic.Some is recycled, some is disposed of along with household or industrial waste, but none goes back in the sea.Fisherman Claudio Uriani, 62, sorts the catch into different buckets, ready to be sold at market.The most voluminous species is the plastic, though.The Nile river delivers at least 1,500 tons of plastic into the sea annually, the PLOS study showed.It's estimated that 80 percent of waste in the sea comes from land and 20 percent from boats and the fishing industry.Up to a quarter of all the waste retrieved was recyclable, depending on whether the polymers in the plastic were still in good enough condition after being in salt water, De Sabata said.
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