Temporal Trends in Litter Dynamics at a Pebble Pocket Beach


  • A. T. Williams
  • D. T. Tudor


South Wales, pollution, coastal management, beach clean-ups.


A pocket beach in South Wales (Tresilian), UK, was studied over a five year period (1994 1998) to assess amounts, types and accumulation of litter. At low spring tide, the beach was sub-divided into 5m transects and all litter recorded prior to removal. At the subsequent low spring tide, roughly 15 days after the initial survey, the beach was revisited and the litter recording repeated. The study established that at least 19% of the total amount of pre clean up beach litter, returned within two weeks; in one year this figure was as high as 46%. Trends in the amounts and composition of the litter were also apparent. The litter standing stock fell by almost 50% between 1995 and 1998, with plastics being the dominant litter material. Plastic containers increased in proportion over the survey period, making up some 30% of the litter in 1998 compared with 12% in 1996. Litter was distributed across the beach at varying levels, with the largest accumulations occurring at the eastern end of the beach, this was especially so in 1997. The litter distribution across this pocket beach brings into question the validity of using selected small transects to give a true assessment of the amounts of litter present.