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Socioeconomics effects on global hotspots of common debris items on land and the seafloor

Hardesty, BD, Roman, L ORCID: 0000-0003-3591-4905, Leonard, GH, Mallos, N, Pragnell-Raasch, H, Campbell, I and Wilcox, C 2021 , 'Socioeconomics effects on global hotspots of common debris items on land and the seafloor' , Global Environmental Change. Part A , pp. 1-14 , doi: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102360.

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Abstract

Pollution of coastal environments by anthropogenic debris is a global problem that is increasingly in the publiceye. We evaluated the influence of socioeconomic and geographic factors on common debris items at a globalscale. We compared debris density and socioeconomic drivers of the ten most common items reported on landand the seafloor, analyzing data from 22,508 land-based and 7,290 seafloor clean-ups and surveys across 116 and118 countries, respectively. We found debris hotspots for different items span numerous countries across allcontinents. This demonstrates that the debris problem is global and heterogeneous, pointing to the transboundarynature of the issue and necessitating sub-national approaches to implementing effective solutions.Food and beverage packaging items, predominantly made from single-use plastics, accounted for much of thedebris. Hotspots of individual debris items were differentially driven by socioeconomic factors. In general, totaldebris counts increased with the value of infrastructure, and decreased with national wealth. Highly pollutedsites occurred in high-infrastructure, low-wealth locations such as Athens, Greece; Tunis, Tunisia and Lima, Peru.Based on these findings, we identify specific opportunities for policy makers and citizens alike to focus effortsaimed at reducing debris entering the environment.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Hardesty, BD and Roman, L and Leonard, GH and Mallos, N and Pragnell-Raasch, H and Campbell, I and Wilcox, C
Keywords: plastic pollution, global, marine debris, single use plastic, citizen science
Journal or Publication Title: Global Environmental Change. Part A
Publisher: Elsevier Sci Ltd
ISSN: 0959-3780
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2021.102360
Copyright Information:

© 2021 Published by Elsevier Ltd.

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