Abstract

This study evaluated monthly accumulation rates and types of marine debris washed ashore at a recreational beach in Point Pleasant Park, Halifax Harbour, between April and September 2005. Black Rock Beach is 70 m long and a total of 2129 marine debris items were collected and sorted, representing a mean accumulation rate of 355 (±68 SE) items month-1. The total weight of debris items was only 10.8 kg (mean 2 kg ±0.4 SE), however eighty-six percent of this debris was plastic material. The types of litter found included: tampon applicators, condoms (i.e., sewage-related debris [SRD]); plastic fast food packaging, confectionary wrappers, Styrofoam fragments, plastic bottles and caps, items of clothing, soft drink cans, cigarettes and cigarette holders (i.e., recreational or land-based debris); packing bands, nylon rope and nets (i.e., shipping- or fishing-related debris). These items were generated by recreational use of the park (52%), sewage disposal (14%) and from shipping and fishing activities (7%). It is suggested that a significant reduction in marine debris at recreational beaches may arise by improving public awareness of the environmental and aesthetic impacts of marine litter and future improvements to the municipal sewage disposal system.

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