First evidence of microplastic pollution in the El Quetzalito sand beach of the Guatemalan Caribbean

Date of publication 29 June 2020

Authors Mazariegos-Ortíz, Carlos; Los Ángeles Rosales, María de; Carrillo-Ovalle, Leonel; Cardoso, Renan Pereira; Muniz, Marcelo Costa; Dos Anjos, Roberto Meigikos.

Sources Marine pollution bulletin : 156, 111220.



In Guatemala, assessment of the impacts of microplastic pollution in marine and coastal protected areas has not yet been carried out. Therefore, the main goal of this paper was to evaluate the abundance, composition, physical forms, and the possible sources of plastic debris in the El Quetzalito Beach. The area was intended for biodiversity conservation but has been excessively contaminated by plastic materials from land-based activities. The results state that plastic debris negatively impact the Caribbean coast of Guatemala and are released by storm water and riverine transport from the Motagua River. With a high abundance of 279 items/m2 (30 items/kg d.w.), composed mainly of polystyrene foam beads (66.8%) and polypropylene fragments (25.8%), the microplastic sources are the deterioration of large plastics. As these plastics are commonly used in industrial, commercial, fishing, and household activities, these findings reinforce the need to improve effective sustainable management actions of solid waste treatment and disposal in the Guatemalan cities.

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