The Union for the Mediterranean recently released a report assessing the progress of Mediterranean pollution over the last 15 years. While initiatives have successfully tackled certain environmental problems, the report finds that more cooperation between countries is needed to achieve a cleaner Mediterranean. 

“More solidarity and investment is needed,” says the report, especially in the Southern Mediterranean. “We must of course invest in infrastructure, but also in research, to develop the much-needed knowledge base that will help better and more informed policymaking.”

The Horizon 2020 initiative was founded 15 years ago by the Union for the Mediterranean to de-pollute the Mediterranean. The initiative tackles the three main polluters said to account for 80% of Mediterranean waste: municipal waste, urban wastewater, and industrial waste. A part of the Horizon 2020 budget also goes towards research to develop greater knowledge of environmental issues relevant to the Mediterranean. 

Pollution expected to grow in incoming years

The report finds that important economic sectors such as manufacturing, still rely on unsustainable means of production as these are cheaper. Wastewater treatment also needs improvement in the southern and eastern Mediterranean, where “the geopolitical situation” is responsible for “the malfunctioning of wastewater treatment plants,” says the report.

The report warns that the Mediterranean as a whole needs to address its waste generation, including plastic waste generation. Waste production has increased in recent years and the report doesn’t expect the situation to change. “The trend and prospects are expected to increase in the future, driven by changes in consumption patterns, population, and higher incomes,” the report stresses.

The Mediterranean is considered the most polluted sea in the world. Prince Albert has made it one of his life’s missions to fight actively against Mediterranean plastic pollution. Amongst the many initiatives of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is BeMed, an association that promotes initiatives to tackles Mediterranean waste.