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The Philippines is identified as one of the major marine plastic litter polluters in the world with a discharge of approx- imately 0.75 million tons of marine plastic debris per year. However, the extent of the plastic problem is yet to be de-fined systematically because of limited research. Thus, this study aims to quantify plastic litter occurrence in mangrove areas as they function as sinks for plastic litter due to their inherent nature of trapping plastics. To define the extent of
marine plastic pollution on an island scale, mangrove areas in 14 municipalities around Cebu Island were sampled,with 3 to 9 transects in each site depending on the length of coastline covered by mangroves. Sampling and character-
ization of both plastics and the mangrove ecosystem was performed in three locations along the transect – landward,middle, and seaward. A total of 4501 plastic items were sampled throughout the study sites with an average of 1.29 ±
0.67 items/m2 (18.07 ± 8.79 g/m2). The average distribution of plastic loads were 2.68 ± 1.9 items/m2 (38.52 ± 25.35 g/m2), 0.27 ± 0.10 items/m2 (6.65 ± 4.67 g/m2), and 0.94 ± 0.61 items/m2 (9.04 ± 4.28 g/m2) for the land-
ward, middle, and seaward locations, respectively. The most frequent plastic types found were i) packaging, ii) plastic bags and iii) plastic fragments. The plastic loads and types suggest that most plastic wastes trapped in mangroves come from the nearby communities. Fishing-related plastics originated from the sea and were transported across the man-grove breadth. The findings confirm that mangroves are major traps of plastic litter that might adversely affect the marine ecosystem. The study underscores the urgent need for waste mitigation measures, including education,community engagement, infrastructure, technological solutions and supporting policies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number156408
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2022

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