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    Beach litter accumulation at sub-Antarctic Marion Island – 1998/99

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    Document Number:
    CCAMLR-XVIII/BG/22
    Author(s):
    Delegation of South Africa
    Agenda Item(s)
    Abstract

    As part of an ongoing study on Subantarctic Marion Island, we report on beach litter accunmulation for the year May 1998 - April 1999. The amount of debris found in both annual and monthly accumulation studies, showed a substantial decrease from the peak experience during 1997/98 season, but is still double that recorded during 1984. This recent decrease was mainly due to a decrease in the number and proportion of styrofoam items. Plastic items were most numerous this season, while styrofoam dominated for the previous two years. Items originating from South America (Argentina in particular) were the most prevalent, followed by items with oriental script. Monthly accumulation studies showed a strong seasonal effect with most items arriving during the winter. Litter retention studies showed that most (60%) items collected during the annual survey were less than two months old. This strong seasonal effect and high turnover rate, highlights the dangers of single annual surveys.