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Italy's fishermen battle the scourge of plastic in the Mediterranean

Italy's fishermen often catch as much plastic as fish in their nets. Until recently it was illegal for them to bring the plastic to shore. But a recent change in law means it can now be brought back to port to be recycled.

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“We find every type of plastic imaginable here,” fisherman Carlo Governatori says.

Until recently it was illegal for fishermen to bring the plastic to shore. But a recent change in law means the rubbish can now be brought back to port to be recycled.

Local authorities are now offering financial incentives to fisherman to recycle the plastic caught in their nets.

“The fishermen have the most to gain from having a clean sea,” said Mauro Colarossi of Italy’s Coast Guard.

With 7,600 kilometres of coastline, Italy is at the forefront of the war on plastic. The World Wide Fund for Nature estimates that some 600,000 tonnes of plastic end up in the Mediterrannean each year.

Italy is the third-largest polluter in the Mediterranean behind Egypt and Turkey.

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