An 18-month study of six Louisiana beaches determined the extent, composition, and possible sources of beach litter. Data showed that from 2590 to 23,154 items may be encountered along any one-mile stretch of Louisiana beach, depending upon location and season, and that densities of litter ranged from 5 to 28 items per 100 m2. Plastics constituted 47% of the total, followed by polystyrene at 16% and glass at 10%. Drink-related items accounted for 40% of the identifiable material; operational wastes, 21%; galley wastes, 15%; personal items, 11%; and fishing items, 6%. Litter laws already exist at state and federal levels. Strict enforcement of Annex V of MARPOL should significantly reduce plastic beach litter. Solutions to beach litter will come from public participation in adopt-a-beach programs and statewide clean-ups and from educational programs focusing on existing laws, proper disposal methods, recycling, and the threat litter poses to wildlife and public health.
Additional publication details
Debris is not a cheese: litter in coastal Louisiana
Publ by ASCE
New York, NY, United States
Larger Work Title:
Coastal Zone: Proceedings of the Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management
Coastal Zone '89: Proceedings of the Sixth Symposium on Coastal and Ocean Management