Marine litter abundance and distribution on beaches on the Isle of Rügen considering the influence of exposition, morphology and recreational activities

The abundance, weight and composition of marine debris were determined at the northwest coast of the Isle of Rügen in 2015. A total number of 1115 macrolitter items were registered, resulting in an abundance of 304 ± 88.96 items per 100 m of beach length and therefore being greater than the abundances found for other beaches at the Baltic Sea. Macrolitter items were predominantly composed of plastic, on average 83%. The four beaches under investigation have different exposition as well as touristic levels. The differing influence of wind and water currents as well as recreational activities on the macrolitter at these beaches was detectable. The distribution of items within a beach segment was analyzed by implementing D-GPS and drone aerial photography. The results of this analysis suggested that the identity of the substrate as well as the presence of vegetation are both major influencing factors in the macrolitter distribution.

Elena Hengstmann, Dennis Gräwe, Matthias Tamminga, Elke Kerstin Fischer, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 115, Issues 1–2, 15 February 2017, Pages 297–306

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