Plastics and South Pacific Island shores: environmental implications

Plastics and South Pacific Island shores: environmental implications Studies from South Pacific Islands, some of which are uninhabited, as well as eastern Australia and New Zealand, show that discarded plastics are a significant pollutant of shorelines and adjacent coastal and oceanic waters. Environmental impacts include: death and/or debilitation of wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, reductions in quality of life and reproductive performance, hazards to shipping and possibly health, and a vector for the introduction of alien taxa that may endanger island ecosystems or traditional seafood resources. This material is also aesthetically distasteful. Blame for this pollution has been placed largely on indiscriminate disposal of plastic by vessels at sea. However, there is a growing appreciation that much shoreline litter has urban sources reflecting inadequate disposal practices as well as recreational visitors. Increasing population pressures and shipping activities around the region will lead to ever-growing quantities of unsightly plastic litter on shorelines of the region and experience elsewhere suggests this could be to the detriment of tourism. The problems need to be addressed through the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region with common regional management policies developed similar to those now in place for the Caribbean. These should focus on waste disposal practices and identification of sites suitable for land-fill operations as well as development of port reception facilities. Alleviation of the problems may also come from Annex V of MARPOL and the London Dumping Convention, but ultimately the solutions will have to be regional in character and involve education sensitive to local cultures. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Ocean & Coastal Management Elsevier

Plastics and South Pacific Island shores: environmental implications

Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 42 (6) – Jun 1, 1999

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Publisher
Elsevier
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
ISSN
0964-5691
D.O.I.
10.1016/S0964-5691(99)00036-8
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Studies from South Pacific Islands, some of which are uninhabited, as well as eastern Australia and New Zealand, show that discarded plastics are a significant pollutant of shorelines and adjacent coastal and oceanic waters. Environmental impacts include: death and/or debilitation of wildlife through entanglement and ingestion, reductions in quality of life and reproductive performance, hazards to shipping and possibly health, and a vector for the introduction of alien taxa that may endanger island ecosystems or traditional seafood resources. This material is also aesthetically distasteful. Blame for this pollution has been placed largely on indiscriminate disposal of plastic by vessels at sea. However, there is a growing appreciation that much shoreline litter has urban sources reflecting inadequate disposal practices as well as recreational visitors. Increasing population pressures and shipping activities around the region will lead to ever-growing quantities of unsightly plastic litter on shorelines of the region and experience elsewhere suggests this could be to the detriment of tourism. The problems need to be addressed through the Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific Region with common regional management policies developed similar to those now in place for the Caribbean. These should focus on waste disposal practices and identification of sites suitable for land-fill operations as well as development of port reception facilities. Alleviation of the problems may also come from Annex V of MARPOL and the London Dumping Convention, but ultimately the solutions will have to be regional in character and involve education sensitive to local cultures.

Journal

Ocean & Coastal ManagementElsevier

Published: Jun 1, 1999

References

  • From castaways to throwaways: marine litter in the Pitcairn Islands
    Benton, T.
  • Australia and the South Pacific: implementing the UNCED oceans agenda
    Bergin, A.; Michaelis, F.B.
  • A review of marine pollution issues in the Caribbean
    Siung-Chang, A.
  • Land-based marine pollution in the Caribbean: incentives and prospects for an effective regional protocol
    Schumacher, M.; Hoagland, P.; Gaines, A.
  • Emerging problems in the coastal zone for the twenty-first century
    Goldberg, E.D.

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