Identifying opportunities for harmonized microplastics and mesoplastics monitoring for Caribbean Small Island Developing States using a spatiotemporal assessment of beaches in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas

Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS) lack harmonised microplastics monitoring protocols, resulting in a data deficiency regarding the science-policy interface required for treaty negotiations. This review conducts a baseline study to assess the spatial and seasonal abundance and distribution of microplastics (1–5 mm) and mesoplastics (5–25 mm) along 16 beaches with three coastal exposures (Atlantic Ocean, Exuma Sound, and Bahama Bank) in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas, and its implications for Caribbean SIDS. From the study, it was determined that microplastics were the most dominant debris type sampled (74%) across all beaches, with significant spatial (p = 0.0005) and seasonal (p = 0.0363) differences in abundance and distribution across study sites. This baseline study also identifies opportunities for developing harmonised microplastics and mesoplastics monitoring by Caribbean SIDS to collect data to help support global plastics treaty negotiations.

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