Litter at beaches can come from more than one source and determining the proportions to assign pollution to different sources is very complex. There is no widely accepted methodology at present that links litter items to their source. The aim of this study was to create a method of assigning a source to litter found on beaches of the Bristol Channel but which could equally be used on any beach. Various methods that attempt to establish the source of beach litter were evaluated; their strengths, weaknesses, applicability and reliability for use on Bristol Channel, UK beaches were considered. Elements of existing methods coupled with new ideas were utilized in the production of a ‘refined’ methodology; consequently a new method of assigning a source to beach litter was developed. The developed ‘Matrix Scoring Technique’ was applied to data collected at Minehead beach on the Bristol Channel, UK. Several numerical and nomenclature variations were used to produce a system that reflected the various sources and eliminated as much bias as possible. This cross-tabulated matrix scoring system can produce an insight into the contribution of different source groups to litter found on beaches. This novel approach requires further testing with emphasis on a control data set.
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Vol. 10 • No. 1