Abundance, composition, spatial distribution, and management practices of marine litter along the Bay of Bengal coast of Bangladesh

Michael Bennett, Md. Kawser Ahmed, Gordon Watson, Pierre Failler, Antaya Lauren Alexandra March, Mohammed Ohiduzzaman, Mohammed Habibullah-Al-Mamun, Seema Rani, Md. Saiful Islam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study provides an assessment and characterization of marine litter pollution among various beaches of the Bay of Bengal coastline of Bangladesh, through standardised surveys. The data suggests that marine litter density was greatest in areas where anthropogenic activity was highest, such as Cox’s Bazar (a popular tourist attraction) and Chittagong (second largest urban concentration in the country). The majority of collected litter originated from domestic and recreational sources, indicating that marine litter pollution is of local origin instead of being washed ashore through ocean current deposition; as well as further emphasising the pattern of increasing marine litter pollution with increasing human presence. Plastic, polystyrene , and paper and cardboard litter was present among all sites surveyed, with plastic dominating in abundance. Limited beach cleaning activities were being conducted among the beaches surveyed, and marine litter management programmes were also limited. Recommendations include the provisioning of increased numbers of refuse bins, the development of long-term monitoring programmes on the coastlines as well as along marine litter source pathways, reviewing the “National Municipal Solid Waste Management” program, and the development of a National Marine Litter Policy to reduce and control marine litter pollution along the shores of Bangladesh. The application of these recommendations are likely to contribute to regional and global initiatives such as the upcoming Global Plastics Treaty.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBangladesh Maritime Journal
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 4 Dec 2023


  • beach litter management
  • plastic policy
  • waste analysis
  • waste composition
  • solid waste management

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