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First marine litter survey on beaches in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, South Pacific: Using OSPAR protocol to inform the development of national action plans to tackle land-based solid waste pollution

16 Nov 2020

The increasing abundance of marine litter is impacting the environment, human health and economies in the South Pacific. Small Islands Developing States are particularly affected by marine litter, primarily due to insufficient waste management systems. For the first time, marine litter was quantified and characterised on 13 beaches in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu in the South Pacific region using the OSPAR beach litter monitoring guidelines. A total of 1053 (±1017) and 974 (±745) items of litter per 100 m beach were recorded in Solomon Islands and Vanuatu respectively. Litter composition and distribution show that the majority of the litter comes from local land-based sources and large quantities of fragments and single use plastics were found by cities and river mouths. Actions to reduce single use plastic, improve collection, reuse and recycling, together with outreach campaigns would reduce marine litter significantly in these countries. Furthermore, there is great potential to develop a more circular economy to manage the substantial quantities of recyclable items that were found stranded on the beaches.

Tags: Vanuatu Solomon Islands Pacific Marine Litter

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