Type and quantity of coastal debris pollution in Taiwan: A 12-year nationwide assessment using citizen science data

B.A. Walther, A. Kunz, C.-S. Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Man-made coastal debris pollution is a growing concern for Taiwan. In 2004, Taiwanese environmental organizations led by the “Society of Wilderness” began gathering data on 19 categories of debris items collected during cleanup events. We present our analysis of the resulting 12-year dataset collated from 541 events held between October 2004 and December 2016. In total, 904,302 items weighing 131,358.3 kg were collected, and 63.6% and 27.2% of items were made of either plastic or plastic mixed with other materials, respectively. The five most commonly recorded debris categories were plastic shopping bags, plastic bottle caps, disposable tablewares, fishing equipment, and plastic drinking straws. We estimated that during the 12-year period on average between 3.7 and 7.9 million items weighing 560–1110 metric tons polluted Taiwan's coastline. We offer recommendations for improving the quality of data collected during Taiwan's cleanup events and report some policy changes due partly to previous reports of this dataset. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-872
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Beach cleaning
  • Citizen science
  • Coastal conservation
  • Marine anthropogenic litter
  • Marine macro-debris
  • Plastic pollution
  • Bottles
  • Marine pollution
  • Plastic bottles
  • Weighing
  • Environmental organizations
  • Plastic pollutions
  • Policy changes
  • Quality of data
  • Debris
  • plastic
  • anthropogenic source
  • assessment method
  • beach
  • coastal zone
  • marine pollution
  • nature conservation
  • pollution control
  • Article
  • coastal debris pollution
  • coastal waters
  • environmental impact assessment
  • environmental management
  • island (geological)
  • policy
  • pollution
  • pollution monitoring
  • Taiwan


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