Federal Institute of Paraná

Project name:
Transboundary movement of marine litter in an estuarine gradient: Evaluating sources and sinks using hydrodynamic modelling and ground truthing estimates

Project description:
The project aims at understanding marine debris’ transboundary nature and new strategies to identify sources and sinks in coastal areas. The study area the Paranaguá Estuarine Complex (PEC), southern Brazil, which is an UNESCO World Heritage-listed Site. The study integrates hydrodynamic modelling, ground truthing estimates and regressive vectorial analysis. Also, the environmental impacts to marine protected areas, and the socioeconomic impacts to tourism are investigated through long-term monitoring and Questionnaire-Based Surveys. Results indicate:

  1. Temporary permanence of litter inside the complex is followed by exiting to oceanic beaches;
  2. Ocean acts as buffer for marine debris from the PEC but not a source to PEC;
  3. Domestic sourced items had a proportionally higher presence in the internal sector;
  4. Unknown sourced/plastic fragments were found in higher proportion in external beaches;
  5. Modelling contributes to the understanding of marine debris transboundary dynamics;
  6. More than 85% of beachgoers would avoid a beach visit if more than 15items/m2 were observed and most users would choose a neighboring state beach destination;
  7. Stranded litter may potentially reduce local tourism income by 39.1%, representing losses of up to US$ 8.5 million per year for a single 25-thousand-inhabitant municipality.

Related links: