Stormwater systems as a source of marine debris: a case study from the Mediterranean coast of Israel

Galia Pasternak, Christine A. Ribic, Ehud Spanier, Dov Zviely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drainage (or stormwater) systems are a potential source of marine debris. Approximately 67 km (33%) of the land along the Mediterranean coast of Israel is considered urban, covered by concrete and asphalt. The purpose of the present pilot study was to determine the composition of the solid waste in a drainage system and evaluate to what extent municipal sources contribute to marine debris. We sampled the waste in Netanya, a medium-size city (245,000 residents) on the central Mediterranean coast of Israel. Samples were taken from seven street stormwater receptacles prior to the first significant rain and then on the beach near a drainage outlet, a few hours after this substantial rain. In terms of composition of the debris, paper, cigarette butts, and sanitary items made up a higher proportion of the drainage system debris than those items did on the beach. In contrast, single-use items, polystyrene pieces, bottle caps, and plastic drinking bottles composed more of the debris on the beaches compared to the debris in the drainage system. Overall, we found that municipal stormwater systems contribute significant amounts of solid waste to marine debris on Israeli beaches. Preventing the waste from reaching the streets might help reduce marine debris on the beaches, especially at the beginning of the rainy season. There are multiple solutions, but all will require creativity and resources and constant maintenance. Educating the public to prevent disposal of solid waste items in the street is also important as a way to reduce terrestrial as well as marine debris.

Original languageEnglish
Article number27
JournalJournal of Coastal Conservation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature B.V. part of Springer Nature.


  • Environment
  • Marine litter
  • Plastic
  • Solid waste
  • Stormwater

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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