Mapping Beach Debris in Belize with Participatory GIS

Authors: Robert Darlington*, University of Wisconsin - Madison, Elli Furukawa*, , Amber Rutstein, University of Central Florida, Sharon Huerta, Beloit College , Alexia Thompson, University of Belize, Tim Hawthorne, University of Central Florida , Christy Visaggi, Georgia State University, Hannah Torres, University of Central Florida , Kate Brandt , University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Topics: Marine and Coastal Resources, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Applied Geography
Keywords: marine debris, Participatory GIS, citizen science, Belize, GIS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Stones Throw 1 - Granite, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Marine pollution, specifically marine debris has become a major health concern for people and the environment along the coast of Belize. Research in Belize shows that marine debris especially affects coastal communities and has the potential to impact their tourism industry, create health issues and negatively affect their economy. Using Participatory Geographic Information Systems (PGIS), hotspot data collection, and quadrat debris classification, our team worked to better understand and communicate possible solutions to this ongoing issue. Our research looked at the difference in the amount and types of shoreline debris seen adjacent to different beachfront uses (e.g. resorts, restaurants, residential), the methods for managing and disposing of marine debris across Hopkins beachfront properties, and the way beaches across Hopkins are being used (e.g. high/low use areas, type of use) in different locations. This research adds to the gap in literature concerning community perspectives on marine debris and composition/abundance along coastal communities.

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