According to a recent study from Tel Aviv University, the Israeli coastline is contaminated with approximately two million tons of microplastics.
Tel Aviv and Hadera were deemed to have the dirtiest beaches in Israel.
The study shows that single-use plastic items, fishing nets, and food packaging are the most significant contributors to contamination.
In a statement released by the university on Sunday, the study was published in the academic journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.
The findings were deemed “alarming” by the study’s authors, who cautioned that “given the scenario in Israel right now, exposure to microplastic trash, which is hazardous to the environment and human health, is inevitable.”
Researchers collected sand samples from six beaches between Haifa and Ashkelon for the study, which was conducted in collaboration with the Israeli Mediterranean Sea Research Center.
According to the researchers, the beaches in Tel Aviv and Hadera were particularly contaminated because of their closeness to streams that convey microplastic debris into the sea, amplifying the contamination on the beaches.
For instance, the Alexander stream gathers waste from nearby industrial and agricultural regions and leachate from untreated West Bank sewage.
Similar to how microplastics from Tel Aviv’s industrial areas build up in the Yarkon River.