Beach litter deposition at a selection of beaches in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, was studied between July 2001 and December 2003. The amount and types of beach litter is relatively consistent among beaches and over time, with an increased abundance of certain litter types at irregular intervals. Plastic is the most common litter type recorded. The amount of litter items per square metre is affected by Local Authority beach cleaning, community beach cleanings, and the presence of sewerage structures and takeaway facilities. Litter from fishing and shipping was relatively low compared with litter from recreation and sewage-related debris. It is likely that climatic conditions and tidal patterns are the greatest influence on the abundance of beach litter. Management actions are required to effect a reduction in beach litter. A combination of education, provision of adequate waste reception facilities, and enforcement of legislation is needed to tackle beach litter.

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