Deepwater marine litter densities and composition from submersible video-transects around the ABC-islands, Dutch Caribbean

Baseline data on anthropogenic seafloor debris contamination in the year 2000 is provided for 24 submersible video transects at depths of 80-900 m, off the Dutch ABC-islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao), in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. In total, 202 objects were documented from a combined 21,184 m of transect, ranging from sandy lower island-slope to rocky upper island-slope habitat. Debris densities differed significantly with depth. Highest debris accumulation (0.459 items 100 m(-2) or 4590 items per km(2)) occurred at depths of 300-600 m on more shallow-sloping (20-30 degrees) sand and silt bottoms. The overall average debris density was 0.27 objects per 100 m(2) (or 2700 items per km(2)), which is an order of magnitude higher than most other deepwater debris studies. What we describe may be representative for other small, populated, steep volcanic Caribbean islands. Food and beverage-related items were the single largest usage category identified (44% of objects; mostly glass beverage bottles).

A.O. Debrot, E. Vinke, G. van der Wende, A. Hylkema, J.K. Reed, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 88, Issues 1–2, Pages 361–365, 15 November 2014

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