The impact of tourism on marine litter pollution on Santa Marta beaches, Colombian Caribbean

Catégorie : Détection & Caractérisation
Date :27 novembre 2020
Garces-Ordonez, Ostin; Diaz, Luisa F. Espinosa; Cardoso, Renan Pereira; Muniz, Marcelo Costa.
Marine pollution bulletin : 160
Tourism is an important socioeconomic activity in coastal communities, which deteriorates marine-coastal ecosystem quality when poorly managed, increasing litter pollution on beaches during the main tourist seasons. This study aims to assess the tourism impact on litter pollution on eleven Santa Marta beaches, Colombian Caribbean. During high and low tourist seasons, people on the beaches were counted, macrolitter and micro-plastics were sampled, and perception surveys about litter on beaches were conducted. During the high tourist season, the number of people and macrolitter pollution increased, compared to the low tourist season. Plastics accounted for 30%-77% of macrolitter and microplastics ranged from 1 to 355 items/m(2). Respondents identified tourism as a main litter source and plastics as the most common litter type. All assessed beaches are impacted by tourism causing litter pollution, therefore, stronger controls, educational, and awareness strategies are needed to reduce litter pollution and prevent ecological and socioeconomic impacts.