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This study was a baseline with quantitative data of marine litter along the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. The objective of the study was to quantify marine litter and its association with human activities in this estuarine gulf. A total of fourteen sandy beaches were cataloged by the degree of urbanization, tourism intensity, beach cleaning programs, and tributary rivers as possible drivers of marine litter presence. The items of the marine litter were separated and weighted by type. Analysis by the clean coastal index (CCI) and multivariate statistics were applied to find spatial patterns in marine litter in the gulf. On beaches with the highest touristic activity, cigarette butts and straws were the main components. Locations with river plume influence, less frequent cleanup, or waste cans showed more bottles, plastic parts, and sanitary waste than beaches in other conditions. A beach in a fisherman town had recently utilized plastic bags, household goods, and boat parts in the marine litter. A wildlife refuge beach showed only small plastic and coffee foam cup fragments that came with currents from other points in the estuary. River basin management, solid waste disposal programs, and environmental education to avoid single-use items combined with correct waste disposal are needed to reduce marine litter in tropical countries focused on ecological tourism. Copyright © 2022 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Jeffrey A Sibaja-Cordero, Eddy H Gómez-Ramírez. Marine litter on sandy beaches with different human uses and waste management along the Gulf of Nicoya, Costa Rica. Marine pollution bulletin. 2022 Feb;175:113392

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PMID: 35134738

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