Estuarine Litter at the River/Beach Interface in the Bristol Channel, United Kingdom


  • A. T. Williams
  • S. L. Simmons


Marine litter, pollution, beach litter, ocean dumping, environmental quality


Litter found on beaches bordering the estuary of the Bristol Channel, United Kingdom, is disparate from litter representing UK/Irish Sea beaches. The principal source of this litter is postulated as riverine in origin derived from sewage debris originating from combined sewer overflows and sewage/general litter obtained from fly tipping sites. Litter from marine sources and the beach user was found in small quantities. Very large numbers of plastic bottles (beverages/dairy based products), sanitary items and plastic cans can be found on northern shore beach strandlines i.e. 550, 75, 210 per km at Merthyr Mawr beach, Mid-Glamorgan, compared to a Mid Glamorgan County average of 128, 11 and 115 respectively per km. Respective County average figures found on the southern shore for the same items were 3, 12 and 13 per km. Results from Dunster, North Devon (2, 10 and 18 per km respectively) were in accord with these figures The bulk of the litter was UK in origin, 93% on the northern shore as against 63% on the southern.