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Standing stock and daily accumulation of beach litter in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

27 May 2022

Beach litter accumulation studies are an important method to investigate litter flows to the marine environment. We detail a standing stock and daily accumulation study, conducted at two locations approximately 20 km north (uMhlanga) and south (Amanzimtoti) of the Port of Durban, South Africa. The materials collected were dominated in number by plastic, which constituted more than 90% of all items found during the surveys. Accumulation ranged from 134 to 719 items 100 m−1 d−1, falling within the range of similar studies in South Africa. Accumulation weights (wet and uncleaned, WU) ranged from 0.10 to 2.49 kg per day. Between the two sites, standing stock per 100 m ranged between 921 to 1534 items, and between 1.06 to 4. 03 kg(WU). Overall, higher litter loads were observed at Amanzimtoti beach compared to uMhlanga beach. Our statistical modelling showed that litter numbers varied by beach, whether collection was above or below high tide and the amount of rainfall. At Amanzimtoti, more litter was found above the tide line throughout the study, but at uMhlanga, this was only true for the first part of the study. Analysis of the types of litter found between beaches, suggest different sources of litter that could be used to tailor waste management solutions in each local area. Greater numbers of cotton bud sticks found at uMhlanga, suggests sewage treatment outputs contribute to the litter loads in this area, while large amount of linoleum flooring fragments found at Amanzimtoti suggest construction could be the source

Tags: beach marine litter South Africa Africa

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