Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

2019 Edition
| Editors: Charles W. Finkl, Christopher Makowski

Marine Debris-Onshore, Offshore, and Seafloor Litter

  • D. T. Tudor
  • A. T WilliamsEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-93806-6_207


The source of marine litter is mainly land (c 80% and c 20% the sea) and the bulk is plastic, which ultimately ends up on the sea bed (70%) in a variety of guises and size (mega to nano). It has a deleterious effect on humans, marine organisms, tourism, and coastal economics.


Marine litter is any persistent, manufactured, or processed solid material discarded, disposed of, or abandoned in the marine and coastal environment. This may be from land, e.g., direct from beach users, rivers, or from the ocean itself, e.g., ships/offshore installations. Once in the marine environment, debris may remain for many years/centuries, particularly if it is plastic, and numerous world-wide studies have recorded plastic as the dominant material (Bergmann et al. 2015). The increased use of plastics and its global manufacture has led to ubiquitous and vast levels of abandonment; this, coupled with plastic’s persistence and its propensity to degrade into smaller and smaller...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pelagos/TCELondonUK
  2. 2.Faculty of Architecture Computing and Engineering, University of Wales, Trinity St. DavidSwanseaUK
  3. 3.CICA NOVA, Nova Universidad de LisboaLisbonPortugal