Keywords: litter, debris, management, beach, plastic
Litter contamination processes and management perspectives on the southern Brazilian coast
Beach litter contamination has been reported internationally as a major coastal issue needing evaluation for management strategies. The extent of contamination by litter has been assessed throughout a 12-month field investigation at Cassino beach, a long and wide sandy beach of great ecological importance and a major resort area of the southern Brazilian coast. This has been the first systematic study on the subject, and followed the IOC/FAO/ UNEP (1989) methodological guidelines. Further to the results identifying the most contaminated areas and times of the year and characterising the major components and likely sources of the litter collected, this study provides for estimations on the litter accumulated over Cassino beach on a global perspective, and refers to existing and future management perspectives. Although the main problem appeared to be waste left by beach-goers during summer, results also suggest that year-round inputs from other sources should not be neglected, and point to the need for prevention and control measures under an integrated approach to management.