The presence and characterization of beach litter was investigated, according to the EA/NALG (2000) methodology, at 59 sites along four provinces of Ecuador, i.e., three continental and the Galapagos Islands Province. The methodology, which has been verified in several countries, was used to classify beaches into four grades (from "A" - excellent to "D" - poor) according to the content of nine types of litter. Twenty-two sites (i.e., 37% of total) obtained Grade "C", 18 (31%) Grade "B", 12 (20%) Grade "A", and 7 (12%) Grade "D". The province that showed excellent litter grades was the Galapagos Islands where 88% of beaches obtained Grade "A", whereas Santa Elena and Esmeraldas provinces presented the worst beaches in terms of litter content and abundance. Environmental authorities should focus more attention on continental beaches by improving adequate cleaning operations to make them more attractive to national and international tourism.
Keywords: 3S destinations; Beach litter grade; Beach type; EA/NALG.
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