Title: Spatial trends and drivers of marine debris accumulation on shorelines in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas using citizen science

Authors: Kristal K. Ambrose, Carolynn Box , James Boxall, Annabelle Brooks, Marcus Eriksen, Joan Fabres, Georgios Fylakis, Tony Walker

Abstract: This study measured spatial distribution of marine debris stranded on beaches in South Eleuthera, The Bahamas. Citizen science, fetch modeling, relative exposure index and predictive mapping were used to determine marine debris source and abundance. Citizen scientists quantified debris type and abundance on 16 beaches within three coastal exposures (The Atlantic Ocean, Great Bahama Bank and The Exuma Sound) in South Eleuthera. Marine debris, (~2.5 cm or larger) on each beach was monitored twice between March–May and September–November 2013 at the same locations using GPS. Approximately, 93% of all debris items were plastic with plastic fragments (≤2.5 cm) being the most common. There were spatial differences (p ≤ 0.0001) in plastic debris abundance between coastal exposures. Atlantic Ocean beaches had larger quantities of plastic debris by weight and by meter (m) of shoreline. Stranded plastic may be associated with Atlantic Ocean currents associated with leakage from the North Atlantic sub-tropical gyre.

6IMDC Poster_Final_KA.jpf

Title: Using Environmental Education as a Catalyst for Youth Activism around Plastic Pollution: A Case Study of the Plastic Pollution Education and Ocean Conservation Summer Camp 

Author: Kristal Ambrose

Abstract: Bahamas Plastic Movement Understanding the detrimental role plastic plays in our marine and terrestrial ecosystems is extremely important to the alleviation of the problem. By conducting scientific research, we can quantify the extent of the issue universally. However, there are still major disconnects between science, education and communication as it relates to evoking unified change for plastic reduction at the global level. By building a community of inquiry-based education and environmental stewardship, Bahamas Plastic Movement s accessible science opportunities for the next generation of environmental leaders. A fundamental program ran by the organization is the Plastic Pollution Education and Ocean Conservation Summer Camp. This intensive summer program takes students on a holistic journey from the problem with plastic to solutions to this environmental crisis. This camp, which is the first of its kind for The Bahamas, empowers students to become environmental leaders and tackle the issue of plastic pollution using a dynamic, creative and hands on approach. Our unique method of encompassing science, technology, engineering, art, math (STEAM) and community engagement translates a very real-world problem into tangible, realistic outcomes that youth can connect to and execute effectively. Grounded in plastic pollution threats facing our environment, this program is rooted deeper in the hopefulness that comes from engaging young people in environmental work. For the past 4 years, the Plastic Pollution Education and Ocean Conservation Camp has truly shifted the education paradigm and provided youth with the tools necessary to innovate realistic solutions to plastic pollution based on their culture and environment.