Tracing the source of marine debris on the beaches of northern New South Wales, Australia: The Bottles on Beaches program
Smith, SDA, Banister, K, Fraser, N & Edgar, RJ, 2018 'Tracing the source of marine debris on the beaches of northern New South Wales, Australia: The Bottles on Beaches program', Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 126, pp. 304-307.
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Identifying the source of marine plastic pollution accumulating on ocean beaches is often difficult as unidentifiable fragments of plastic usually predominate. In this study, we surveyed plastic bottles as a relatively identifiable subset of plastics on 30km of beach along a 200-km section of the north coast of New South Wales, Australia. Source and product type (contents) were determined using barcodes, inscriptions/embossing, or bottle shape and characteristics. Country of origin and product type could be determined for two-thirds of the 694 bottles found. Just over half (51%) of these were of domestic origin with the remainder dominated by bottles from China (24%) and south-east Asian countries (21%). As most of the foreign bottles lacked marine growth, and are unavailable for purchase in the region, passing ships are hypothesised as the primary source.