Report | June, 2023
Oceana’s report on tackling marine pollution in the hotel industry provides new evidence illustrating the extent of marine plastic pollution near key coastal tourist destinations, and calls on hotels to take immediate action to reduce their use of single-use plastic, and its impact on the beautiful coastal areas that their businesses depend on. The tourism industry’s extensive use of single-use plastic, coupled the proximity of many hotels to coastal areas, contributes to the vast amounts of plastic waste that end up in our oceans and beaches. Oceana conducted research that evaluated the level of plastic pollution on the seafloor off the coast of key tourist destinations, including Copacabana and Ipanema beaches in Brazil, Cancun and Playa del Carmen in Mexico, Mallorca and Valencia in Spain, and the Florida Keys in the U.S. All areas surveyed were found to be polluted with plastic, directly impacting delicate underwater habitats and biodiversity. Oceana found a total of 1,653 waste items, with 1,171 (70.8%) made from plastic. Oceana calculated a concentration of plastic items ranging from 324 to 852 pieces of plastic/km2 of seafloor surveyed. Most of the plastic appeared to be single-use, such as bags, food wrappers, packaging, cutlery, and drinking containers – items typically used by tourism-related businesses. This pollution not only harms the environment, but also jeopardizes the appeal of pristine beaches and the success of the tourism industry. Oceana calls for immediate action from the tourism sector, particularly hotels, urging them to minimize single-use plastic waste, adopt sustainable practices, and lead the way in preserving our oceans.