Abundance and Temporal Distribution of Beach Litter on the Coast of Ceuta (North Africa, Gibraltar Strait)
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DepartmentBiología; Ciencias de la Tierra
SourceWater 2021, 13, 2739.
Twelve beaches located in Ceuta (Spain) were studied from February to April 2019 to assess litter amounts (expressed as number of items), categories and temporal distribution. At each beach, three surveys were conducted, i.e., one per month (i.e., 36 in total). Selected beaches covered urban (7), rural (2) and remote (3) bathing areas. Plastic represented the dominant material, i.e., 35.2% of all debris, followed by glass (18.2%), pottery/ceramics (14.6%), wood (11.4%), metal (11.4%), paper/cardboard (4.8%), cloth (3.5%), rubber (0.7%), organic (0.3%) and other materials (0.1%). The Clean Coast Index was calculated to classify beaches in five categories for evaluating the cleanliness level of the coast observed at each survey: "Very Clean" (7 surveys), "Clean" (10), "Moderately Dirty" (8), "Dirty" (2) and "Extremely Dirty" (9). Litter occurrence was assessed by the Litter Grade methodology, which allowed to classify beaches in four grades: "A": very good (0); "B": good (4); "C": fair (7); and "D": poor (25). In a few surveys, some beaches were considered "good", but their management should not be ignored because in other surveys those beaches reached fair and poor scores. Several potentially harmful litter items were related to beach users. Severe eastern storms removed litter at many of the beaches investigated and favored accumulation at others. Data analysis shows significant differences in litter abundance with respect to site, beach typology and the presence of cleaning operations but no important differences between the studied months. Rural beaches recorded the most litter, followed by urban and remote beaches. All beaches require immediate and more appropriate management actions to improve their environmental status.
Subjectsbeach typology; Clean Coast Index (CCI); coastal pollution; harmful litter; litter grade; Mediterranean; marine debris; plastic; polymer; sewage-related debris
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