A baseline assessment of beach debris and tar contamination in Bonaire, Southeastern Caribbean

Data on beach debris and tar contamination is provided for 21 natural beach sites in Bonaire, Southeastern Caribbean. Transects amounting to a combined length of 991 m were sampled March–May 2011 and a total of 8960 debris items were collected. Highest debris and tar contamination were found on the beaches of the windward east-coast of the island where geometric mean debris concentrations (± approx. 70% confidence limits) were 115 ± 58 items m-1 and 3408 ± 1704 g m-1 of beach front. These levels are high compared to data collected almost 20 years earlier on the nearby island of Curaçao. Tar contamination levels averaged 223 g m-1 on windward beaches. Contamination levels for leeward west-coast beaches were generally two orders of magnitude less than windward beaches.

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