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Open AccessArticle

Remotely Sensing the Source and Transport of Marine Plastic Debris in Bay Islands of Honduras (Caribbean Sea)

1
Remote Sensing Laboratory, National Technical University of Athens, 15780 Zographou, Greece
2
Roatan Marine Park, Roatan, Bay Islands 34101, Honduras
3
Department of Biology, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, 15784 Athens, Greece
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(11), 1727; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12111727
Received: 30 April 2020 / Revised: 22 May 2020 / Accepted: 26 May 2020 / Published: 27 May 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Paper Special Issue on Ocean Remote Sensing)
Plastic debris in the global ocean is considered an important issue with severe implications for human health and marine ecosystems. Here, we exploited high-resolution multispectral satellite observations over the Bay Islands and Gulf of Honduras, for the period 2014-2019, to investigate the capability of satellite sensors in detecting marine plastic debris. We verified findings with in situ data, recorded the spectral characteristics of floating plastic litter, and identified plastic debris trajectories and sources. The results showed that plastic debris originating from Guatemala’s and Honduras’ rivers (such as Motagua, Ulua, Cangrejal, Tinto and Aguan) ends up in the Caribbean Sea, mainly during the period of August to March, which includes the main rainfall season. The detected spatial trajectories indicated that floating plastic debris travels with an average speed of 6 km d−1, following primarily a southwest (SW) to northeast (NE) direction, driven by the prevailing sea surface currents. Based on several satellite observations, there is no indication of a specific accumulation point, since plastic debris is dispersed by the dynamic circulation in the broader region. Our findings provide evidence that satellite remote sensing is a valuable, cost-effective tool for monitoring the sources and pathways of plastic debris in marine ecosystems, and thus could eventually support management strategies in the global ocean. View Full-Text
Keywords: marine plastic debris; remote sensing; high spatial resolution; multispectral data; Honduras; Caribbean Sea marine plastic debris; remote sensing; high spatial resolution; multispectral data; Honduras; Caribbean Sea
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kikaki, A.; Karantzalos, K.; Power, C.A.; Raitsos, D.E. Remotely Sensing the Source and Transport of Marine Plastic Debris in Bay Islands of Honduras (Caribbean Sea). Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 1727.

AMA Style

Kikaki A, Karantzalos K, Power CA, Raitsos DE. Remotely Sensing the Source and Transport of Marine Plastic Debris in Bay Islands of Honduras (Caribbean Sea). Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(11):1727.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kikaki, Aikaterini; Karantzalos, Konstantinos; Power, Caroline A.; Raitsos, Dionysios E. 2020. "Remotely Sensing the Source and Transport of Marine Plastic Debris in Bay Islands of Honduras (Caribbean Sea)" Remote Sens. 12, no. 11: 1727.

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