Predicting trends & divers of fluvial litter pollution in South Wales, UK
Tutor / director / evaluatorBallinger, Rhoda
Document typeMaster thesis (pre-Bologna period)
Rights accessRestricted access - author's decision
Fluvial litter pollution, produced always as a result of human activities, involves many consequences. It affects the aesthetic quality of the river banks, it constitutes a significant threat to wildlife and it can be potentially hazardous if riverine areas are used recreationally by humans. In addition, it represents one of the most important sources of pollution in the marine and ocean environment. This research attempts to study and identify the factors which contribute to litter; it is suggested that these drivers can help better understand the patterns of severity of fluvial litter in rivers and also may assist the identification of better management strategies to prevent litter at source. For the study of the drivers, three subcatchments in the River Taff and two in the River Ely, South Wales, UK, were chosen to relate the amounts of litter on their river banks with the subcatchment characteristics (drivers). After lot of research into drivers of marine litter, the hypothetical drivers that could affect in the fluvial environment were investigated. Drivers chosen were the social characteristics of population, the physical characteristics of the subcatchment (land use, river flow…) and distance to sewage inputs. Consequently, data representing all these drivers was compiled and its relationship with the litter data, collected in the field, was studied through a variety of statistical tools. The results of this field and desk top study showed that some drivers studied have a large influence on riverine litter. The main factor associated with most of the litter categories was fly tipping. From the statistical analysis, it appears that this problem is mainly influenced by the level of education of population, the recreational use of rivers and the land use of the sites. Whilst highly populated residential areas resulted in the most polluted areas, other drivers like age, type of residence, economic activity do not seem to have a direct relationship with fluvial litter. In contrast to some of the literature, the distance to sewage inputs did not seem to be an important driver of fluvial litter in this study. Finally, the water quality of the case study area was also analysed to check if it could be also used as a proxy measurement for estimating amounts of fluvial litter. The study showed that all the sites in the Rivers Taff and Ely obtained at least acceptable values of water quality, but these values seemed bear little relationship to the quantities and types of litter on the river bank.
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