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We report on three decades of repeat surveys of beached marine debris at two locations in the Scotia Sea, in the Southwest Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. Between October 1989 and March 2019 10,112 items of beached debris were recovered from Main Bay, Bird Island, South Georgia in the northern Scotia Sea. The total mass of items (data from 1996 onwards) was 101 kg. Plastic was the most commonly recovered item (97.5% by number; 89% by mass) with the remainder made up of fabric, glass, metal, paper and rubber. Mean mass per item was 0.01 kg and the rate of accumulation was 100 items km month. Analyses showed an increase in the number of debris items recovered (5.7 per year) but a decline in mean mass per item, suggesting a trend towards more, smaller items of debris at Bird Island. At Signy Island, South Orkney Islands, located in the southern Scotia Sea and within the Antarctic Treaty area, debris items were collected from three beaches, during the austral summer only, between 1991 and 2019. In total 1304 items with a mass of 268 kg were recovered. Plastic items contributed 84% by number and 80% by mass, with the remainder made up of metal (6% by number; 14% by mass), rubber (4% by number; 3% by mass), fabric, glass and paper (<1% by number; 3% by mass). Mean mass per item was 0.2 kg and rate of accumulation was 3 items km month. Accumulation rates were an order of magnitude higher on the western (windward) side of the island (13-17 items km month) than the eastern side (1.5 items km month). Analyses showed a slight decline in number and slight increase in mean mass of debris items over time at Signy Island. This study highlights the prevalence of anthropogenic marine debris (particularly plastic) in the Southern Ocean. It shows the importance of long-term monitoring efforts in attempting to catalogue marine debris and identify trends, and serves warning of the urgent need for a wider understanding of the extent of marine debris across the whole of the Southern Ocean.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Environment international
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A region of southern NORTH AMERICA extending from the southern border of MEXICO to the northern border of COLOMBIA. It separates the Caribbean Sea from the Pacific Ocean and is linked to SOUTH AMERICA by the Isthmus of Panama.
A body of water covering approximately one-fifth of the total ocean area of the earth, extending amidst Africa in the west, Australia in the east, Asia in the north, and Antarctica in the south. Including the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, it constitutes the third largest ocean after the ATLANTIC OCEAN and the PACIFIC OCEAN. (New Encyclopaedia Britannica Micropaedia, 15th ed, 1990, p289)
Surveys that measure the usage rate of CONTRACEPTIVE DEVICES or CONTRACEPTIVE AGENTS.
A country in southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean, between Argentina and Peru.
A country in southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, located between Argentina and Brazil.