Event Title

Plastic Waste Identification and Potential Solutions: A Case Study of Bocas Town, Panama

Location

CSU 202

Start Date

11-4-2017 1:05 PM

End Date

11-4-2017 2:05 PM

Student's Major

Biological Sciences

Student's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Mentor's Name

Beth Proctor

Mentor's Department

Biological Sciences

Mentor's College

Science, Engineering and Technology

Description

Isla Colon is an island within the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama. Recently, the island has been of interest to travelers seeking adventure and paradise. However, with growing population the island has undergone increasing environmental stress. There are many forms of environmental stress, but for this project plastic waste related to quality of water was of focus. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of plastic waste in Bocas Town, to analyze how tourism affects the amount and location of this waste, and to determine if locals are denied environmental justice. It was hypothesized that all areas of Bocas Town would be exposed to plastic waste, but areas outside of the waterfront zone would be more littered, as those areas tend to be out of tourist's sight. In addition, both locals and tourist would agree plastic waste is an issue, and note its connectivity to low water quality. Three steps were taken to test these hypothesis. The first involved interviewing two influential people in the waste management movement: Martin Downer and Robert Bezeau. Following insight from interviews, a random survey was conducted for locals and tourists regarding recycling habits and personal opinions. Lastly, amounts of plastic waste were quantified through land surveys across Bocas Town. Following these steps all hypothesis were supported. The current practices of Bocas Town are unsustainable, and suggested improvements include increasing water quality and utilizing water refill stations so that this generation, and future generations, have the opportunity to truly experience paradise.

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Apr 11th, 1:05 PM Apr 11th, 2:05 PM

Plastic Waste Identification and Potential Solutions: A Case Study of Bocas Town, Panama

CSU 202

Isla Colon is an island within the Bocas del Toro archipelago of Panama. Recently, the island has been of interest to travelers seeking adventure and paradise. However, with growing population the island has undergone increasing environmental stress. There are many forms of environmental stress, but for this project plastic waste related to quality of water was of focus. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent of plastic waste in Bocas Town, to analyze how tourism affects the amount and location of this waste, and to determine if locals are denied environmental justice. It was hypothesized that all areas of Bocas Town would be exposed to plastic waste, but areas outside of the waterfront zone would be more littered, as those areas tend to be out of tourist's sight. In addition, both locals and tourist would agree plastic waste is an issue, and note its connectivity to low water quality. Three steps were taken to test these hypothesis. The first involved interviewing two influential people in the waste management movement: Martin Downer and Robert Bezeau. Following insight from interviews, a random survey was conducted for locals and tourists regarding recycling habits and personal opinions. Lastly, amounts of plastic waste were quantified through land surveys across Bocas Town. Following these steps all hypothesis were supported. The current practices of Bocas Town are unsustainable, and suggested improvements include increasing water quality and utilizing water refill stations so that this generation, and future generations, have the opportunity to truly experience paradise.

Recommended Citation

Gorman, Hailey. "Plastic Waste Identification and Potential Solutions: A Case Study of Bocas Town, Panama." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 11, 2017.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2017/oral-session-10/3