Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

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

Marine Debris-Onshore, Offshore, and Seafloor Litter

  • D T Tudor
  • A. T Williams
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-48657-4_207-2

Definition

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.

Introduction

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 International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pelagos/TCELondonUK
  2. 2.University of Wales, Trinity St DavidSwanseaUK