Main content area

Beach litter distribution along the western Mediterranean coast of Spain

Asensio-Montesinos, F., Anfuso, G., Williams, A.T.
Marine pollution bulletin 2019 v.141 pp. 119-126
cardboard, ceramics, cigarettes, cleaning, coasts, glass, paper, plastics, rubber, spring, urban areas, villages, wastewater, water pollution, Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean region, Spain
The amount and composition of beach litter was assessed, during spring 2018, at 56 sites along the coast of Alicante Province, on the western Mediterranean Sea. Selected sites covered “natural” (19), “village” (17) and “urban” (20) bathing areas and a total of 10,101 litter items was counted in an area of 201,686 m2. Plastic represented the dominant material with 8345 items, i.e. 82.6% of all debris; paper and cardboard numbered 566 items (i.e. 5.6%); pottery and ceramics 348 (3.4%); metal 325 (3.2%); cloth 231 (2.3%); glass 147 (1.5%); rubber 64 (0.6%); wood 46 (0.5%) and other materials summed 29 items, i.e. 0.3% of all debris. Cigarette butts, 45.6% of total items, were observed at different coastal sites: i.e. 1028 units at natural, 1148 at village and 2431 at urban sites. Despite the efforts of local administrations, which enforced cleaning operations at most sites, litter items were essentially related to beachgoers followed by wastewater discharges and fishing activities.