August 17, 2016

Debris Results

Summer 2016 Research Results for Citizen Science: Understanding Coastal Marine Debris In Hopkins Through Participatory Geographic Information Systems

***All downloadable geographic data will be added to this page soon.

Working with the Village Council of Hopkins, the University of Central Florida, Georgia State University, the University of Belize, The Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program, and the Pan American Development Foundation, our collaborative research team in Hopkins, Belize, was focused on understanding the composition and density of natural and man-made debris (trash) along the coast. The reason debris is such a large problem worldwide, and more specifically in Hopkins, is because it has large economic, health, and wildlife impacts. These issues include causing injury, harm to the tourist industry (a large source of income for Hopkins), increasing mosquito breeding sites, and hurting animals, both in the ocean and on land. A large part of our collaborative work focused on talking with community members to gain their insights into debris hotspots (areas of higher concentrations of debris).

Final Community Report: You can read the final 8 page report to the community for the Summer 2016 research in the following documents (click on the link to read the report):

Debris Community Report 2016 (PDF Format)

Debris Community Report 2016 (Word Format)

Citizen Science GIS collecting marine debris data with Hamanasi Resort staff in Hopkins, Belize.

Citizen Science GIS researchers collecting marine debris data with Hamanasi Resort staff in Hopkins, Belize.

Key Findings:

  • We were able to find out that residential lands have more man-made debris than other types of land. This could possibly mean that there should be an educational campaign focused on reducing waste, especially plastics, left on the beach.
  • We found that natural debris such as Sargassum, sticks/logs and cut coconuts was most prominent in “unused land uses” along the beach.
  • We found that there is a need to increase awareness of where debris is mostly found along the beach, so that those areas can be cleaned up first. All of these data can be used to increase education and make for a better, more efficient beach cleanup program.
  • We can tell that a good place to put a trash bin would be by the pier, presumably because that is where many people hang out and where a lot of trash may get left behind.

Final Debris Research Presentation:

If the above has kept you scrolling down our page, then you will absolutely love our Final Prezi of the debris team’s research (click on the slide below to view the full Prezi presentation).

debrispres