Litter washed ashore on the coastline, also called beach litter, constitutes one of the most obvious signs of marine litter pollution. Surveys of beach litter represent a fundamental tool for monitoring pollution in the marine environment and have been used world-wide to classify and quantify marine litter. Identifying the sources of marine and beach litter is, together with education, the prime weapon in combating this type of pollution. This work investigates the impact of three main potential land sources on litter occurrence: urban areas, rivers and beach users. Three sources were analyzed simultaneously on a broad scale (Lazio region, central Italy) using a random sampling design and fitting a generalized linear mixed-effect model. The results show that urban areas are the main drivers for the occurrence of marine litter along central Italy’s coastal ecosystems, suggesting that the presence of such litter on Lazio beaches could be effectively reduced by identifying failings in recycling and waste collection procedures and by improving waste processing systems and sewage treatment in urban areas.
Gianluca Poeta, Luisa Conti, Marco Malavasi, Corrado Battisti, Alicia Teresa Rosario Acosta, Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science, Volume 181, 5 November 2016, Pages 231–237