Wildlife and macrodebris pollution: examples from marine and freshwater environments
Damian Flores, Melina
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Anthropogenic debris pollution is a problem affecting numerous wildlife species worldwide. Plastic, which makes up of most of the debris pollution found in natural areas, poses a threat to the survival of organisms primarily through entanglement and ingestion and ecological indicators species can play an important role in monitoring pollution levels in wildlife habitats. This portfolio examines anthropogenic debris pollution in two different environments: marine and freshwater. The marine environment is an important marine turtle nesting beach on the northeast coast of Costa Rica, Playa Norte, in the province of Limon. The specific objectives of the study in Playa Norte are to understand the characteristics (i.e.: type, size) of marine debris present in the beach, determine if there is a seasonal pattern of marine debris deposition and identify the possible sources of debris. The freshwater environment is Tommy Thompson Park in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The study consists in assessing the incidence of anthropogenic debris in double-crested cormorant nests. Specifically, it examines the frequency and characteristics (i.e.: type, colour, size) of debris and how the frequency and type of debris compare to their surrounding environments (terrestrial and aquatic). The portfolio closes up with a reflection on the role of environmental education in addressing the problem of plastic pollution through education and awareness. My objective is to highlight the urgent need to address anthropogenic debris pollution as a pressing environmental concern that impacts marine and freshwater ecosystems alike, as well as to be able to provide solutions and recommendations for monitoring and mitigating this issue in important wildlife habitats.