Marine debris in central California: Quantifying type and abundance of beach litter in Monterey Bay, CA

Source: Marine Pollution Bulletin

C. Rosevelt, M. Los Huertos, C. Garza, H.M. Nevins, Marine debris in central California: Quantifying type and abundance of beach litter in Monterey Bay, CA, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 71, Issues 1–2, 15 June 2013, Pages 299-306, ISSN 0025-326X

Abstract

Monitoring beach litter is essential for reducing ecological threats towards humans and wildlife. In Monterey Bay, CA information on seasonal and spatial patterns is understudied. Central California’s coastal managers require reliable information on debris abundance, distribution, and type, to support policy aimed at reducing litter. We developed a survey method that allowed for trained citizen scientists to quantify the types and abundance of beach litter. Sampling occurred from July 2009–June 2010. Litter abundance ranged from 0.03 to 17.1 items m−2. Using a mixed model approach, we found season and location have the greatest effect on litter abundance. Styrofoam, the most numerically abundant item, made up 41% of the total amount of litter. Unexpected items included fertilizer pellets. The results of this study provide a baseline on the types and abundance of litter on the central coast and have directly supported policy banning Styrofoam take out containers from local municipalities.

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