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Improving the Source-to-Sea approach for marine litter in Brazil

Grant number: 19/14093-7
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 28, 2021
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Oceanography - Biological Oceanography
Principal Investigator:Alexander Turra
Grantee:Melanie Vianna Alencar
Home Institution: Instituto Oceanográfico (IO). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil


Reducing solid waste pollution in the marine environment is a major challenge nowadays and it is also one of the goals proposed by the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG). The growing visibility of this topic at national and global levels demands an investigation of the advances and scientific research potential on marine litter, to guide the technical-scientific development in this field. It is estimated that 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans each year. And Brazil is the 16th leading contributor to this kind of pollution. The identification of significant solid waste sources to the aquatic environment is essential for the attainment of local, national and international agendas to combat marine litter. To date, this mapping was not performed on a local scale considering the geographic and socioeconomic particularities of each location. Likewise, there is a gap regarding the potential hotspots that can emerge as a result of the expected population growth in the coming years. Estimating the current and future panorama of the hotspots is crucial to implement appropriate mitigation and prevention measures. This project aims to draw a panorama of marine litter in Brazil adopting the Source-to-Sea approach, which promotes integrated coastal management by contemplating the dynamics of the social, ecological and economic systems involved in the subject. The specific objectives are: (1) to verify the advances, limitations and potential of the scientific research on marine litter, generating an updated diagnosis of the problem in Brazil and mapping the research network involved with this subject in the country; (2) indicate the location of hotspots with the greatest potential to generate and discharge solid waste in the ocean using plastic debris as a proxy; and (3) estimate the enlargement potential of existing hotspots and the location of future hotspots considering the population and territorial changes in Brazil for 2030 and 2060.The history and current condition of marine litter research in the country will be inquired through a bibliographic survey. The studies will be compared and the data will be combined through the statistical technique of meta-analysis. The authors will be identified through research platforms of articles and curriculum. The researchers network will be structured through the Social Network Analysis (SNA) metric, using the Node XL software. The hotspots will be predicted by correlating data on population density, socioeconomic condition and urban solid waste disposal. A logistic regression model will be developed to estimate the percentage of inadequately managed solid waste in Brazilian municipalities. The data will be interpolated with the country's water network. The potential inlet of solid waste into the ocean will be estimated through the conversion of poorly managed waste into marine litter, using plastic debris as a proxy.The future panorama of the hotspots will be estimated through the combination of data previously calculated with the population growth projection for 2030 and 2060. Changes in the management and mass of waste generated per year will be predicted in different scenarios. The softwares R and QGis will be used for statistical analysis and the production of maps indicating current and future hotspots.This project will document the advances of scientific research and also the connectivity among the actors involved; generating a baseline for future studies and supporting collaborations between researchers. The hotspots mapping is aligned with the Axis 3 of the National Plan to Combat Garbage in the Sea (PNCLM), aimed at carrying out diagnostic surveys on marine litter on the Brazilian coast. The information to be generated also has the potential to support the refinement of the SDG 14.1 targets and also the actions of the Global Program of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Activities (GPA/UNEP). (AU)