Despite deals, plans and bans, the Mediterranean is awash in plastic

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MARSEILLE, France — Pascal Hagmann lowered a manta trawl — a ray-shaped, metal device with a wide mouth and a fine-meshed net — off the side of his sailboat and into the blue waters off the coast of Marseille, France. Then he motored around at 3 knots. The manta trawl skimmed along the surface, taking in gulps of seawater and catching whatever was floating inside it. “Maybe there will be [plastic], maybe not, you never know,” Hagmann, founder and CEO of the Swiss citizen science NGO OceanEye, told me in September as he steered his 40-foot (12-meter) sailboat, Daisy. “It depends on the surface …

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