The Mediterranean represents 0,8% of the world's total ocean area and hosts 8% of global marine biodiversity. However, pollution from saturated cities along the Mediterranean coasts from industries and from the world’s maritime traffic, 30of the world’s traffic, are putting pressure on the marine ecosystem.
Amongst this pollution is the increasing presence of micro-plastics and their possible inclusion in the marine food chain and therefore our food chain, which worries the scientific world.
The 2014 Tara Mediterranean expedition is preparing a mission with two objectives:
- A scientific part which is consistent with a study aiming at qualifying and quantifying plastic fragments, and measuring size and weight. The findings of this study, headed by the University of Michigan (USA) and the Villefranche-sur-Mer Oceanography Laboratory (CNRS), will help to better guide the decision makers in the 22 bordering countries to oversee the risks of pollution on the Mediterranean ecosystem.
- The expedition has a purpose of helping to raise the environmental awareness of the general public on challenges in the Mediterranean. At each stopover, a traveling exhibition and films will be shared with the public. Furthermore, classes from local schools will be welcomed aboard. During the whole expedition, artists will be reporting about their experiences.
Initiated by the "Tara Expeditions" endowment fund, this project is supported by several partners including the CNRS, the University of Maine and the University of Michigan in the United States. The program is backed by several multilateral institutions such as the MedPAN organization, the Union for the Mediterranean, the European Commission's Environment DG and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (UNESCO/IOC).
The Mediterranean, in short
0.8% of the ocean’s surface.
8% of global marine biodiversity
30% of the world’s maritime traffic
450 million people living along the Mediterranean coast