As you walk through the sand beaches is common that you step onto empty packages of Marlboros and Soda cans and on food, while plastic bags fly over your head. The coastal area trash is often piled in dunes that swept up by the wind, cast into the sea. Albania is a small European country, but when it comes to pollution is a big performer.

Blame it to the urban development, which has contributed not little on the purity of our beaches. Ionian and Adriatic Sea are nowadays hosts of urban discharges, industrial, agricultural or livestock. In these seas the level of pesticides and chemicals from agricultural raw, organic wastes, which contain phosphorus and nitrogen, pathogenic viruses and bacteria, heavy metals is going out of control.

The growth of population in some urban cities has made impossible the process of self-cleaning, because of large amounts of urban discharges, including one of the main enemies of marine life, plastic bags. But pollution from direct discharges into the sea or fertilizers is not the main cause. Pollution of rivers, especially in rural areas, where the valleys are often waste landfills is another source of impurity.

And ships have also their fair share of pollution. Every year 635,000 tonnes of crude oil are spilled by vessels in the Mediterranean Sea. Only few months ago in Durrës a ship spilled a big amount of oil. Albania has also been slow in implementing regulations to ensure greater discipline regarding the waste management of ships anchored in the country's ports.

As a result of the lack of rules, some of the ships skip depositing their waste in the ports and dis so in the open sea. The Ministry of Environment a year ago proposed a regulation to the Council of Minister about imposing an environmental fee for all vessels anchored, which was passed few weeks ago. But the damage has already been done. The land-locked waters of the Mediterranean sea, have a very low renewal rate (80 to 90 years) and so are extremely sensitive to pollution. The Mediterranean represents less than 1% of the earth's total marine surface, but oil tanker traffic through this sea accounts for more than 20% of global traffic.

Durrës beach-the most polluted one

The highest level of pollution in Durrës are the places near the main castle, Plepa and Pioneers camp, about 10 times above the allowed rate. In 2009 in the MMPAU report is noted that the 21 beaches surveyed in Durres, 90% classified as poor quality and only 10% has a normal quality.

The level of pollutions on the beaches of Durres is aggravated from the lack of sanitation of new constructions, especially in the beach area. In most cases the situation is resolved with septic hole. Construction in sandy areas which are not in accordance to the parameters makes these waters flow into the sea completely raw.

In Patok, the beach is for the livestock

Meanwhile, in the region of Patok, the only visitors at the sea are livestock because the road infrastructure is all amortized which creates difficulties for vehicles. Lana and Ishem rivers flow all urban waste in Adriatic Sea and the pollution has infected sea animals that obliged fishermen to give up fishing in this area. Fishermen complained that no one has intervened to reduce the pollution.

Vlora Beach suffers as well

Even Vlora beach is dirty as well. A particular area such as at the Navy School is out of every parameters and extraordinary source of infections. In this area of only 800 meters everyone can count easily 6 sewage channels flowing directly into the sea. This part of Vlora beach is 15 times more polluted than the norms; however this part is still one of the most attended beaches in summer.

The situation is not less problematic in the New Beach, which is also declared as public beach area from Vlora municipality. Nevertheless in this area are easily distinguished4 sewage channels because they are located in the middle of the beach. Meanwhile, the polluted area beyond the allowed parameters is presented even in the Old Beach area.
Not surprisingly Durrës, Golem and Vlora area are polluted. Constructions without a urban plan, without laying sewerage networks have been the “curse” of these beaches. What is more worrying is the lack of concrete plans to improve this situation. While the Public Health Institute gives the alarm signal of and call for immediate intervention since many years, the measures seem nonexistent.

However, if these buildings will not be controlled and if they do not initially raised sewer system, the 316 miles of clear and pure sea will remain nothing but a beautiful memory to show through photographs.

All the Mediterranean Sea is endangered

Large quantities of plastic debris are building up in the Mediterranean Sea. A survey published by BBC found around one thousand tonnes of plastic floating on the surface, mainly fragments of bottles, bags and wrappings. Plastic has been found in the stomachs of fish, birds, turtles and whales. Very tiny pieces of plastic have also been found in oysters and mussels grown on the coasts of northern Europe.

Given the biological wealth and concentration of economic activities in the Mediterranean Sea, the effects of plastic pollution on marine and human life could be particularly relevant in this plastic accumulation zone. Plastic is accumulating in the Mediterranean Sea at a similar scale to that in oceanic gyres, the rotating ocean currents in the Indian Ocean, North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Atlantic and South Pacific, the study found. A high abundance of plastic has also been found in other seas, including the Bay of Bengal, South China Sea and Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean.