01 Apr 2022
CLAIM research topic: CLAIM researchers conduct a survey on the public perceptions of marine plastic litter
A CLAIM-funded research paper titled Public Perceptions of Marine Plastic Litter: A Comparative Study Across European Countries and Seas became the 8th paper published in the journal’s research topic in Frontiers in Marine Science.
Marine plastic litter (MPL) is an evolving international issue that requires public participation and behavioural change to tackle. That is why CLAIM partners Lotte van Oosterhout, Hanna Dijkstra, Pieter van Beukering, Katrin Rehdanz, Salma Khedr, Roy Brouwer and Sem Duijndam identified and classified relevant components of public perceptions of MPL, based on a large scale survey across eight European countries which share three European seas (North Sea, Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea).
Within the EU, water pollution and plastics in oceans have been ranked as one of the top four most worrisome environmental challenges of our time.
Photo: Distribution of beach or coastal visitors’ experiences with MPL. Explanatory note: the shares refer to the replies to the following three questions: Frequency: “How often did you see plastic litter on the beach or in the water?” Amount: “How would you describe the amount of plastic litter on the beach or in the water?” Size: “How would you describe the size of the most noticeable plastics on the beach or in the water?”
According to the survey’s findings, the general public holds businesses and consumers most accountable for MPL cleanup. Self-responsibility to minimize MPL, on the other hand, varies significantly across and within nations, with the highest scores reported in Greece and the lowest in the Netherlands. In all nations, public awareness of plastics’ recyclability was minimal.
The authors conclude that based on the findings, policymakers should differentiate and modify national programs to raise public awareness and educate people, along with increasing their engagement and sense of responsibility to change lifestyles and purchasing behaviour with the goal of reducing plastic usage and littering.
You can read the full article here.
This article is part of the research topic “Cleaning Litter by Developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European Seas” published in Frontiers of Marine Science.