Investigation of Abundance and Spatial Distribution of Marine Debris on Ghanaian Urban Coastal Beaches Assessment of Marine Debris

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Kofi Adu- Boahen


Marine debris has been identified as a form of pollution for more than half a century, and it is a major concern for the general public due to its detrimental effects on the environment and human health. The accumulation of marine debris not only affects the aesthetic appeal of our oceans but also poses a significant threat to safety. The impact of marine debris on the tourism industry, especially the eco-tourism sector, is a growing concern both locally and globally. The objective of this study was to conduct a comprehensive assessment of marine debris on three beaches of Ghana along the Gulf of Guinea. It sought to survey the spatiotemporal changes in the concentration of marine debris, quantify the perceptions of locals and beach users of marine debris, examine the citizen science perspectives on marine debris and finally analyse the effects of marine debris on coastal resources. The study employed a shoreline debris survey and citizen science approach to achieve this objective. Content analysis in NVivo was deployed to analyze transcriptions from the interviews. A standing stock beach survey was used to survey debris in 100 m2 quadrants for 30 occasions each for the three studied beaches at 12-day intervals, which spanned one year. Debris was classified and quantified according to the NOAA classification scheme for marine debris. The quantitative data generated were analyzed in SPSS 23.0 to establish debris abundance and spatiotemporal differences. Results revealed that plastics are the dominant debris type, accounting for 52% of the total debris surveyed, which was confirmed by the citizen science approach. Biriwa Beach had a minor debris abundance, statistically different from Abandze and Anomabo. The paper found significant seasonal differences in the concentration and spatial distribution of all debris types except for plastics and processed lumber. Respondents acknowledged the effects of marine debris on humans and the environment. The study recommends making adequate waste management infrastructure available in the area. NGOs and the Municipal Assembly should educate residents on effective mass participation in waste management practices to curb debris accumulation.


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How to Cite
Adu- Boahen, Kofi. 2023. “Investigation of Abundance and Spatial Distribution of Marine Debris on Ghanaian Urban Coastal Beaches : Assessment of Marine Debris”. Journal of Environmental Geography 17 (1-4):29-44.
Author Biography

Kofi Adu- Boahen, University of Education, Winneba

Department of Geography Education


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