Marine debris is a major challenge threatening ocean and coastal environment with no easy solution in coming years. The problem is totally manmade and extendeds to coastal areas around the world. The accumulation of marine debris is largely due to lack of awareness and environmental education among the public reinforced with mismanagement of municipal litter in coastal cities. Iran has about 2415 km of coastlines in the north and south of the country that suffer severely from a marine debris problem. Despite the great scale of the problem that leads to the shutdown of some beaches to beachgoers, there are no documented data on the abundance, composition and sources of marine debris dispersed on beaches. With the cooperation of marine biology student volunteers, we surveyed beaches at two scales, 100 m and 1 km searching for litter in varying ranges. The results revealed that the most common items are made of plastic/polystyrene. Tourism and recreational activities are responsible for more than 90% of litter production on the study beach. Fisheries and aquaculture are the second source of most abundant marine litter found on the beach with considerable distance from tourism activities. We conclude that lack of education about the consequences of marine litter is the main reason for marine debris at the study beach. Another reason is related to rapid construction of coastal areas and development of coastal cities with no proper infrastructure to manage municipal littering.
Jaleh Sarafraz, Mahdi Rajabizadeh and Ehsan Kamrani, Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Volume 96, Special Issue 01, pp 131-135, February 2016