Marine litter on the Albanian coastline: Baseline information for improved management

Gjyli, Laura; Vlachogianni, Thomais; Kolitari, Jerina; Matta, Gagan; Metalla, Osman; Gjyli, Silvana
Ocean & Coastal Management, 187, 105108
Beach litter surveys represent a fundamental tool for monitoring marine litter pollution in the marine environment and have been used worldwide to quantify the amounts of litter deposited on the coastline and detect its sources. This study investigated the abundance, composition and sources of marine litter stranded on five beaches located at the bay of Durres and the Bay of Lalzi in Albania. During April 2018, a total of 3,321 marine litter items were collected, classified and recorded. Within this study the mean litter density was found to be 0.14 items/m2 and 333 items/100m stretch of beach. The sites investigated differed in terms of human-induced pressures with 2 sites being classified as semi-urban; 2 sites as urban and 1 as semi-rural. Artificial/anthropogenic polymer materials accounted for the majority of marine litter items found, with a percentage of 65%. The most abundant type of items was glass and ceramic fragments accounting for 19.7%, followed by cigarette butts and filters accounting for 17.9% of all litter collected. The vast majority of litter items (58.5%) originated from shoreline sources including poor waste management practices, tourism and recreational activities. Single-use plastics (SUPs) accounted for 48% of all items recorded ranging from 16.8% to 69.1% for the different beaches.