Origin and abundance of marine litter along sandy beaches of the



Origin and abundance of marine litter along sandy beaches of the
Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
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Marine Environmental Research
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Origin and abundance of marine litter along sandy beaches of the
Turkish Western Black Sea Coast
Eda N. Topçu*, Arda M. Tonay, Ayhan Dede, Ayaka A. Öztürk, Bayram Öztürk
Istanbul University Fisheries Faculty, Ordu Cad. No 200, 34130 Laleli-Istanbul, Turkey
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV), P.O. Box 10, Beykoz-Istanbul, Turkey
a r t i c l e i n f o
a b s t r a c t
Article history:
Received 26 June 2012
Received in revised form
17 December 2012
Accepted 19 December 2012
Beach debris abundance was estimated from surveys on 10 beaches of the Turkish Western Black Sea
Coast. Debris was collected from 20 m long transects during four different seasons; sorted and categorized by type, usage and origin. Litter density varied from 0.085 to 5.058 items m2. Debris was mainly
composed of unidentifiable small size (2e7 cm) plastic pieces and beverage-related litter such as bottles
and bottle caps. About half of the labeled litter was of foreign origin, including 25 different countries, 23%
of which are in the Black Sea region.
The south-western Black Sea Coast seems to receive foreign litter from two main sources: land-based
debris from the neighboring countries and seaborne debris due to international shipping. Standardized
methodology and indicators need to be designated all over the Black Sea basin in order to quantify and
qualify coastal litter pollution, monitor compliance with MARPOL and develop regionally effective
mitigation measures.
Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Marine debris
Ocean dumping
Pollution monitoring
Black Sea
1. Introduction
Accumulation of marine litter in the ocean is a growing problem
worldwide. Particularly plastic, the most utilized and persistent
material, arises as the primary contaminant in the marine environment (Ryan et al., 2009; Derraik, 2002). Since the beginning of
its widespread usage in 1950’s, plastic has turned into a widespread
environmental pollution problem (Barnes et al., 2009; Gregory,
1977; Carpenter et al., 1972). Regional and international legislations, such as Annex V of the International Convention for the
Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL 73/78) prohibiting the
dumping of all ship-generated plastic waste and regulating the
dumping of other garbage into the oceans, started to focus on solid
waste material. A regional legislation example, the Protocol to the
Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea
against Pollution from Land-based Sources, was signed in 1976. The
United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched
activities and issued various publications since the 1990’s. Although
many measures have been constituted, solid waste materials
continue to be discharged in marine environments. Quantities in
the oceans became so high that the mass of plastic was approximately 6 times that of the surface plankton in the North Pacific Gyre
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ90 212 455570/16417; fax: þ90 212 5140379.
E-mail address: [email protected] (E.N. Topçu).
0141-1136/$ e see front matter Ó 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
(Moore et al., 2001). Also, bottom trawls hauled litter from Mediterranean seafloors in very high amounts (Galgani et al., 2000).
Despite being an enclosed sea surrounded by industrialized
countries, an important maritime route, an intensive fishery area
and tourism attraction, the Black Sea has not received sufficient
attention regarding coastal litter pollution. It is an almost totally
enclosed sea whose unique connection with the Mediterranean Sea
is the narrow passage of the Turkish Straits System. A large number
of rivers discharge into the Black Sea, including the second, third
and fourth longest rivers of Europe. In addition to all these factors,
the Black Sea has a very dynamic current system allowing crossborder transportation of waste materials (Topçu and Öztürk,
2010), which in turn makes this enclosed sea very vulnerable to
marine litter. The Black Sea is subject to a number of international,
regional and national legal instruments, which, to some extent,
regulate measures against marine litter pollution. Among them, the
Bucharest Convention is the most effective regarding land-based
marine litter, whereas MARPOL 73/78 is the basic regulation
instrument for shipping-related litter. The Black Sea is defined as
a “Special Area” under Regulation 5 of Annex V (MARPOL)
according to which any discharges of garbage into the sea are
prohibited. However, all neighboring countries are required to have
adequate port facilities in their ports and harbors. The garbage
discharge requirements will not take effect until this prerequisite is
fulfilled. Consequently, the Black Sea has not yet been treated as
a Special Area. Debris accumulations have been observed along
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
some sandy beaches of the Turkish western Black Sea Coast during
surveys on stranded cetaceans (Tonay pers. comm.). A complete
report on marine litter in the Black Sea region was recently published (BSC, 2007), highlighting the problems in legal, institutional
and scientific aspects, but coastal litter in the Black Sea region has
not yet been quantified. As pointed out in the report, scientific data
on litter for the Black Sea are still scarce. In fact the determination
of litter quantities and sources helps to develop and suggest
appropriate strategies for the management of the problem (Santos
et al., 2005; Claereboudt, 2004).
Important shipping lanes of big tankers and cargo ships pass
close to the Turkish part of the western Black Sea Coast. The shores
receive currents from the Northern Black Sea together with the
waters coming through the Danube. Some beaches along this
coastline also serve as recreational areas for locals and tourists. As
a consequence of all these activities, marine litter pollution needs
to be studied in order to find effective solutions. As part of a larger
project of the Commission on the Protection of the Black Sea
Against Pollution supported by UNEP, this study aims to assess
coastal litter pollution along the sandy beaches of the Turkish
western Black Sea Coast, in order to quantify the problem, estimate
the sources and thus help the development of appropriate mitigating strategies based on information presented here about litter
quantity and sources.
2. Materials and methods
2.1. Study area
The study was carried out on sandy beaches of the western Black
Sea Coast (Fig. 1), located in a local small-scale (coastal) and
industrial fishing area (offshore). The stations on the western side
(c1ec6) are close to/within small villages with low population
numbers (500e2600) whereas stations on the eastern side (c7e
c10) are all within villages with higher population numbers and
are subject to intense recreational activities, mainly during the
va (c10), summer populations
summer period. In Şile (c9) and Ag
increase considerably to 10,000e100,000 with the arrival of tourists. Particularities of the ten sampling stations randomly chosen
along sandy beaches are presented in Table 1.
uz et al., 2004) and main shipping routes (thick lines) in the Black Sea (adapted
Fig. 1. Location of the Black Sea (A). Major currents of the upper layer circulation (adapted from Og
from UNEP, 2006); the meandering Rim current system encircling the basin and the sub-basin scale gyres are cyclonic whereas the eddies on the coastal side are anticyclonic (B).
Location of the stations along the study area (Google Earth (03.08.12)) (C); the area marked as “AA” shows the Anchorage Area for cargo and passenger ships.
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
Table 1
Various characteristics of ten stations randomly chosen along sandy beaches.
Nearest town
Small scale
Other remarks
Within town
2.6 km
5 km
3.5 km
Within town
Within town
Close to summer houses
Close to summer houses
Within town
Within town
In summer
In summer
In summer
In summer
In summer
In summer
In summer
All year long
All year long
Silica production and refining factory at 100 m east.
The town dumping ground is 250 m away
Anchorage area for cargo ships and tankers at 4 km from the beach
Anchorage area for cargo ships and tankers at 4 km from the beach
A small river at 500 m west
Small rivers at 200 m west and 1000 m east
A small river at 1500 m west
Small rivers at 400 m and 800 m east
2.2. Sampling method and analysis
The stations were surveyed for marine litter in April, June,
October 2008 and in January 2009. Each survey consisted of 20 m
long transects (Araújo et al., 2006) divided into different numbers
of 2 m wide stripes parallel to the waterline (Fig. 2). The width of
the beach from the waterline to the backshore varied from 11.2 to
40 m. The entire width of the beach was sampled, dividing it in as
many stripes as necessary, i.e. the beach that was 40 m wide had
a total of 20 sampling stripes. Within each sampling stripe all debris
items >2 cm were collected, categorized and counted. Waste
materials were taken to the nearest disposal site after photos of
litter items/transect were taken in each station.
Density of items (number of items m2) was calculated as ‘the
total number of items on transect’/(width of the transect[m]*20
[m]). Some studies express the litter density as the number of items
per 1 m or 100 m of beach front without taking into consideration
the width of the beach. In order to facilitate the comparison with
other studies, density (number of items. m1 of beach front) was
also calculated as ‘the total number of items on transect’/20[m].
The items were sorted in categories according to the type of
material (soft and hard plastics, glass, paper, metal, wooden,
Styrofoam, polyurethane foam, composite, synthetic fibers, rubber,
vinyl, cigarette ends, artificial sponge, ceramic, cork, fabric and
other) and possible usage (beverage related, food packaging,
general packaging, recreational, fisheries related, ropes, domestic/
household related, construction materials, medical utensils, foams/
sponges, smoking related, clothing, aerosols and pumps for foams,
miscellaneous and unidentified). Whenever a legible label was
observed, the information was recorded in order to categorize the
item as foreign or local and each label was photographed. If a barcode number was still present on the label, it was used to determine the country of origin.
To determine whether densities of debris differed significantly
in different seasons and stations, we conducted one-way ANOVA
tests. Prior to the statistical analyses, log transformation was
applied to stabilize the variances. When differences were detected,
post-hoc Tukey’s tests were applied. A nonparametric Kruskale
Wallis analysis was used to test whether debris sizes were
different at different sites as well as at different seasons. A Chisquare test was used to compare the amounts of foreign and local
debris among stations.
3. Results
3.1. Quantitative results
Fig. 2. Schematic overview of beach survey design.
Marine debris was encountered at all stations during every
sampling period (Table 2). A total of 18,597 items were collected
from 19,607 m2 of sandy beach surveyed in four different seasons.
Litter density varied from 0.085 to 5.058 items m2. The most
abundant type of debris was hard plastic followed by soft plastics.
The numbers of small debris items (<10 cm) were significantly
higher than those of the larger ones in all stations (p < 0.05).
Approximately 75% of all debris items were smaller than 10 cm,
most of them being 2e7 cm in size. They consisted mainly of
unidentifiable small plastic items followed by foam/sponge
particles and plastic bottle caps. The largest items were nylon
packaging (2e3 m), a 15 m long fishing net and a 110 72 cm
refrigerator door.
The litter found on the beaches comprised mainly artificial
materials (62.7% hard plastic, 15.8% soft plastic, 4.4% synthetic
fibers, 4.3% Styrofoam, 3.9% polyurethane), whereas materials such
as glass, paper and wood had very small shares (Fig. 3A). Unidentifiable items (meaning highly eroded debris items, making it
impossible to recognize original shape or usage) made up 52% of all
litter (Fig. 3B). Identifiable litter consisted of beverage packaging
(19%) followed by foam/sponge particles (9%), ropes (5%) and nylon
packagings (4%) (bags, food wrappings, etc.). Recreational and
fisheries related items comprised only 2% and 0.5% of the litter,
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
Table 2
Litter densities and percentages of foreign and local items for stations during four seasons.
Items m2
Overall mean
Items m1
0.41 ± 0.27
0.884 ± 0.948
0.63 ± 0.25
1.57 ± 1.54
0.97 ± 0.81
11.65 ± 7.47
27.47 ± 33.66
18.64 ± 12.69
% of foreign labeled items
45.16 ± 61.56
23.94 ± 21.06
% of local items
2.46 ± 2.27
2.04 ± 0.96
2.24 ± 0.88
1.20 ± 0.99
2.96 ± 2.19
3.10 ± 2.76
4.09 ± 6.99
Debris densities varied significantly between seasons (Fig. 4)
(one-way ANOVA p < 0.05; F(3,34) ¼ 3.081, p ¼ 0.040) whereas
stations were not significantly different from each other in any
season (one-way ANOVA p < 0.05; F(9,38) ¼ 1.599, p ¼ 0.164).
Autumn densities were significantly different from those of spring
and summer (Tukey test, p < 0.05) whereas litter densities in the
other seasons did not differ significantly. 44% of all debris items
were collected in autumn in spite of the lack of one station (c3) due
to flooding on the beach. Ormanlı-c4 showed the highest litter
density in autumn with 5.058 items m2. Winter was the other
season with high debris densities. The lowest litter densities were
2.01 ± 4.60
observed in spring. A higher number of large sized debris was
observed in spring for many sites compared to those in other
seasons. Debris densities increased slightly in summer compared to
those in spring except for Kısırkaya-c5.
A general trend was that stations on the eastern side of the study
area seemed to receive more local than foreign litter (Fig. 5). Sites
on the western side, on the other hand, received more foreign litter.
Four of them (Yalıköy, Şişecam, Evcik, Kilyos) are rather clean sites
with low debris densities but high foreign litter proportions
(Table 2). Amongst them, Evcik had the lowest debris density of all
stations in winter but 23% of all debris was foreign labeled. The
Fig. 3. Percentage composition of debris items sorted in different types (A) and usage categories (B).
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
Table 3
Contributions of countries of origin to foreign litter. The
proportion of items that were foreign but not attributed to
a country due to absent/damaged barcode number was
64.8%. The other countries with minor contributions (<1%)
are Israel, Poland, Lebanon, United Kingdom, France,
Mauritius, Moldova, India, South Africa, Belgium, Holland,
Japan, Algeria, Singapore and Chile.
Fig. 4. Mean litter densities (standard deviations) during four seasons. Stations were
considered as replicates (10/season) since they were not statistically different from
each other.
station was washed by a storm shortly before the sampling and only
34 items were present with half being small unidentifiable hard
plastics and most of the rest, large foreign litter.
The proportion of labeled foreign items varied greatly amongst
stations in other seasons whereas in autumn it was quite consistent 2.2% (0.88). All stations received foreign and local litter. Only
662 items had admissible information to identify as local or foreign
(Fig. 5). In sum, 53% were of local whereas 47% were of foreign
origin. The amounts of foreign and local litter were not significantly different among stations (Chi-square ¼ 13.675, df ¼ 9,
p ¼ 0.134). Overseas litter items originated in at least 25 different
countries according to their labels (Table 3). Among them, 23%
originated from the Black Sea neighboring countries, followed by
China (3.9%) and Germany (3.2%). This debris consisted mainly of
beverage related items (58.7%), food packagings (19.6%), and
detergent containers (4.5%). Local items consisted mainly of food
packagings (42.3%), beverage related items (40.6%), and detergent
containers (2.8%).
3.2. Qualitative observations
Many high accumulation areas outside of the randomly chosen
stations were spotted in the study area. These areas are generally
small depressions of the formations that limit the high end of the
beach (like rocky ridges) and prevented debris being dispersed by
winds. General observation could tell that most of the accumulated
litter was composed of plastic bottles agglomerated over time with
very high densities. Besides, the amount of foreign labeled items
was very high in these debris accumulations. These sites should be
preferred for coastal clean-up campaigns.
Furthermore, several empty barrels of Dichlorotoluene were
found during the coastal surveys, outside of the stations. This
chemical is used as air cooler cleaner in the marine vessels’ diesel
engines. The substance and its container must be disposed of as
hazardous waste, because of toxicity for aquatic organisms and
Contributions of
countries of origin
to foreign litter (%)
potential long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment. We
also observed ship-originated tar in the study area at eight stations
and at least twice for six of them during our samplings. Tar presence was recorded at all four samplings on c4-Kısırkaya station.
This is probably due to the proximity of c4 to the anchorage area for
cargo ships and tankers.
4. Discussion
4.1. Litter composition
Plastic was the dominant debris in our study as had already been
reported from the SW Black Sea seabed (Topçu and Öztürk, 2010)
and in many other studies (e.g. Ryan et al., 2009; Derraik, 2002),
probably driven by input, persistence and high floatability. Most of
these plastics result from breakdown of large plastic containers,
eroded by natural events that seem to be stronger on beach environments (Corcoran et al., 2009). Unidentifiable small plastics that
form the bulk of litter items in our study (Fig. 3B) were mesoplastics
that later disintegrate in microplastics. Highly abundant on coastlines, meso- and micro-plastics whose composition and relatively
large surface area make them prone to adhering waterborne
organic pollutants are considered bioavailable to organisms
throughout the food web, causing significant concern (Andrady,
2011; Cole et al., 2011).
Recreational and fisheries-related items made up only a small
share of the litter. However, we only considered net buoys, nets,
lures, hooks and lines as fisheries related items and placed ropes in
a different category. Fishery is not a unique source for ropes, but an
important contributor as we observed the highest rope quantities
during the main fishing season (43% in autumn; 25% in winter; 19%
Fig. 5. Percentages of labeled items in Eastern and Western sites during four seasons. Proportions of local and foreign labeled items in each side are presented in different colors.
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
in spring; 13% in summer). Even with ropes included (5.1% of the
litter), fisheries related debris would not make the bulk of the litter
on SW Black Sea Coast compared to other areas (Claereboudt, 2004;
Edyvane et al., 2004; Otley and Ingham, 2003), and seem to be
similar to values worldwide (the share of Ocean/Waterway activities in marine beach litter is 8% globally and 24.9% for Europe;
Anonymous, 2010) although fishing efforts are very intense in the
study area. We also recorded other probable maritime debris such
as oil containers, crates, life-vest fragments and emergency water
containers but in very low quantities.
The composition of litter in this study is very different compared
to other locations in the Mediterranean (Martinez-Ribes et al.,
2007). In the Mediterranean including southern Turkey (Balas
et al., 2003; Tudor et al., 2002), the most abundant debris items
are related to beach use with “cigarette butts” as the dominant
group. In this study, although land-based debris was also prevalent,
it was composed of bottles and lids that either came from overseas
or local areas together with a dominance of small unidentifiable
plastic debris and foam particles.
4.2. Litter dynamics
Significantly higher litter densities in autumn are probably
related to climatic events that occurred before and during
samplings, such as heavy rains, high waves and dominance of
strong northern winds that drive surface currents to the SW coast
of the Black Sea. High debris in autumn could also be related to
intensive fishing activities during this season because fishermen
tend to throw back debris items caught in their nets. In this way,
debris that had been lying on the sea floor might be refloated and
drifted to shores.
It is very difficult to compare litter concentrations of various
coastal areas (with different population densities, hydrographic
and geological conditions) obtained from various studies with
different methodologies (especially when the sizes of debris items
that are taken into account are different). Nevertheless, compared
to some recent studies on debris (Table 4), the debris densities on
the Turkish western Black Sea Coast seem to be as high as in some
of the very touristic areas in the Mediterranean (Martinez-Ribes
et al., 2007) or higher than in populated areas in Brazil (Wetzel
et al., 2004; Araújo and Costa, 2003), although the Turkish
western Black Sea Coast is not that touristic or populated. The
Turkish western Black Sea Coast also seems much more polluted by
marine litter compared to the touristic beaches in southern Turkey
(Balas et al., 2003).
4.3. Origin of debris items
In this study, items were sorted simply according to their
possible usage. According to UNEP guidelines (Cheshire et al.,
2009), indicator items can be used to relate litter to user-groups
such as fishers, beach-goers, etc. with the purpose of developing
practical management tools to target the behaviors of groups that
are littering. This is relatively easy when it comes to link nets or
buoys to fisheries or cotton buds in large numbers to sewage
source. However, certain beach locations possess a mix of litter
with several potential sources that any specific attribution may be
extremely difficult; besides, some items from the same functional
group such as beverage related debris can have different sources
(Williams et al., 2003). In this study, numerous cans and glass
bottles originated probably from shipping (e.g. a beer can almost
entirely covered by barnacles was marked “the famous beer of
Mauritius” and barcoded to Mauritius). The same way, several
toothpastes and detergent containers e domestic discard related to
land-based sources in many studies e unavailable on the Turkish
market and barcoded to foreign countries, were most probably
transported by sea to Turkish beaches. Trying to establish a source
for beach litter is not easy and requires considering at least three
major factors e identity, function and quantity e in order to make
informed assumptions (Williams et al., 2003). Yet, the usage category of 52% of the litter in this study was unidentified and most of
the rest consisted of beverage related debris which can have
different sources. Namely, litter sourcing for the Turkish Black Sea
Coast seems to be an imprecise task with these results.
In the Black Sea region of Turkey, most of the municipal and
industrial solid wastes, mixed with hospital and hazardous wastes,
are dumped on the nearest lowlands and river valleys or into the
sea (Berkun et al., 2005). Although the sites we studied are not
much populated, many items without any label or marking could
also originate from nearby settlements, especially from more
va. If considering solely items with
populated sites as Şile and Ag
legible labels, the contributions of local and foreign sources to
beach litter are equal. High numbers of foreign litter from neighboring countries and the diversity of countries identified from
barcodes led us to suggest two main sources of foreign litter for the
southwestern Black Sea coast: (i) debris from terrestrial sources in
neighboring countries driven by river currents and (ii) maritime
originated debris due to international shipping in the Black Sea.
The eastern and western sides of the study area seemed to
receive opposite proportions of foreign/local litter. The eastern side
is a more recreational area than the western and study sites showed
Table 4
Comparison of mean litter densities (sd) in this study and other areas. The interval of values are given in parentheses.
Items m2
Items m1
SW Black Sea coasts, Northern Turkey
Antalya beaches, South Turkey
Balearic Islands, Spain (Mediterranean)
Costa do Dendê, Brazil
Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
SE Pacific, Chile
Curaçao, West Indies-(pristine)
Curaçao, West Indies-(public)
Japan, Sea of Japan
Russia, Sea of Japan
Jabuka, Croatia
Baja California, Mexico
Tamandaré, PE Brazil
Cassino, RS Brazil
Cassino, Brazil
Bootless Bay, Papua New Guinea
0.88 0.95 (0.085e5.057)
2 (1e6)
3.4 (0.5e12.7)
15.3 (1.2e78.3)
24 33.66 (1.70e197.25)
36 (8e132)
This study
Balas et al., 2003
Martinez-Ribes et al., 2007
Santos et al., 2009
Abu-Hilal and Al-Najjar, 2004
Al-Najjar and Al-Shiyab, 2011
Bravo et al., 2009
Nagelkerken et al., 2001
Nagelkerken et al., 2001
Kusui and Noda, 2003
Kusui and Noda, 2003
Barnes and Milner, 2005
Barnes, 2002
Silva-Iñiguez and Fischer, 2003
Araújo and Costa, 2003
Wetzel et al., 2004
Tourinho and Fillmann, 2011
Smith, 2012
E.N. Topçu et al. / Marine Environmental Research 85 (2013) 21e28
low litter densities in general with a dominance of local litter. This
is due to easier accessibility and regular cleaning by municipalities
of eastern sites. Sahilköy among them seems to be exempted of any
cleaning activity since it showed the highest debris density of all
sites in summer. Although it received high amounts of foreign litter
in autumn and winter, local litter probably derived from recreational activities (such as cigarette butts and lollipop sticks) was
much elevated in summer. This site is also influenced by a small
river 500 m west by which items, such as medical utensils, lighters,
food packagings, probably arrived. Şile among eastern sites was the
second cleanest of the study area. Şile is very accessible from the
city of Istanbul and highly recreational all year. This situation is
actually beneficial due to the continuous cleaning and maintenance
of the beach.
The circulation pattern in the western Black Sea is a cyclonic
gyre taking water masses from north to south, intersected with
a small scale gyre in the southwestern area (Korotaev et al., 2003).
These coasts have the highest wave height of all the Turkish Black
Sea Coast (Özhan, 2003). The western sites receiving southward
currents had a high number of foreign litter, in general higher than
that of local ones among labeled litter. Four of them (Yalıköy,
Şişecam, Evcik, Kilyos) were particularly clean with a dominance of
foreign litter. These sites are highly washed by waves which
probably results in return of debris to the sea or burial in sand, thus
samplers find only freshly arrived foreign materials.
Besides, many shipping accidents occur at the northern and
southern entries of the Istanbul strait as happened in 2003 with
423 tons of oil discharged into the sea (Öztürk, 2005). Oil spills that
result from shipping accidents in Istanbul Strait and the Marmara
Sea might be transported to the Black Sea after sinking by deep
Mediterranean currents. All these features indicate that pollution
problems on Black Sea coasts, particularly those that result from
shipping activities, require further and serious consideration.
5. Conclusion
Sandy beaches of the Turkish SouthWestern Black Sea Coast are
highly polluted by marine litter. Debris is mainly composed of
unidentifiable plastics of small size and beverage related debris
such as plastic bottles and lids. Fishing related debris seemed to
have a small share in stranded marine litter.
The solid waste pollution on the SW Black Sea Coast shows that
the towns and villages require better litter management. Appropriate integrated solid waste management systems are needed
as already established in the Istanbul area. If coastal cleanup
campaigns are to be organized, we recommend acting in autumn
since higher levels of debris accumulate due to climatic events and
to select sites of high debris accumulation spotted at some points
along the SW Coast.
Although most of the litter collected in the study area was
clearly of land-based origin, not all of it originated from the
surrounding lands; about half of identifiable labeled litter was
foreign. The southwestern Black Sea Coast seems to receive foreign
litter from two main sources: terrestrial originated debris from
neighboring countries driven by coastal currents and maritime
originated debris from international shipping in the Black Sea. Our
data show once more that coastal litter pollution is a transboundary problem not only in the oceans, but also for enclosed
seas like the Black Sea. Thus Turkey cannot resolve litter pollution
on its coasts by itself, even with appropriate solid waste management systems in all cities until all neighboring countries do the
same as well. The Black Sea is defined as a “Special Area” under
Regulation 5 of Annex V (MARPOL) according to which any
discharges of garbage in the sea are prohibited. However, since the
prerequisite of adequate port facilities in all neighboring countries
is not yet fulfilled, the Black Sea is not yet treated as a Special Area.
Standardized methodology and indicators need to be designated
throughout the Black Sea basin in order to quantify and qualify
coastal litter pollution, monitor compliance with MARPOL and
develop regionally effective mitigation measures.
The authors would like to thank the Commission on the
Protection of the Black Sea Against Pollution (BSC), United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP) (Project no: BSC-ML/2008) and
Turkish Marine Research Foundation (TUDAV) for financial support
and several persons for help in collecting debris with hard weather
conditions. In particular, we thank M. Eryalçın, P. Korkmazel,
E. Tutuk, G. Güman, E. Dede, M. Topçu, B. Özsöz, T. Turan and
Istanbul University Faculty of Fisheries volunteer students. Also,
many thanks to all schools, fishing ports and cooperatives that
accepted to expose awareness posters we prepared on marine litter
pollution. Poster design from P. Korkmazel and technical support
from Z. Dorak are exclusively acknowledged.
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