The amount and accumulation rate of plastic debris on marshes and beaches on the Georgia coast

The amount and accumulation rate of plastic debris at 20 sites along the Georgia coast were prepared using data reported by a number of volunteer organizations. The amount of plastic debris at highly visited barrier island beaches and estuarine marshes ranged from 300 to >1000 kg. Relatively large amount of plastics (180–500 kg) were found on less visited barrier island beaches, i.e. Blackbeard, Ossabaw and Cumberland Islands. A follow up monthly or quarterly collection study was carried out on two of the sites, a barrier beach and estuarine marsh, to determine accumulation rate in 8000 m2 areas. Accumulation rates ranged from 0.18 to 1.28 kg/30 days–8000 m2 on the barrier island beach and from 0.6 to 1.61 kg/30 days–8000 m2 at the estuarine marsh site. The major type of plastics, e.g. bottles, food wrappers, plastic fragments, was highly variable at different seasons and sites. The authors recommend consideration of a standardization in reporting plastic debris, with respect to quantitation of debris and sample area.

Richard F. Lee, Dorothea P. Sanders, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 91, Issue 1, Pages 113–119, February 2015

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