Nav: Home

Who is to blame for marine litter?

June 14, 2018

Members of the public are more likely to blame the global marine litter crisis on retailers, industry and government, according to new research led by the University of Plymouth.

However, they have less faith in those agencies' motivation and competence to address the problem, placing greater trust in scientists and environmental groups to develop effective and lasting solutions.

The results were among the findings of a Europe-wide study which asked more than 1,100 members of the general public about their attitudes to marine litter.

It showed more than 95 per cent of people reported having seen litter when they visited the coast, and such experiences were associated with higher concern and a willingness to adapt personal behaviour to address the problem.

There was also growing appreciation and concern about the threat litter poses to wildlife within the marine environment, vastly outweighing other fears such as the impact on tourism and the fishing and shipping industries.

Direct releases into the sea and at the coast were perceived to be more likely routes for waste to enter the marine environment than overflows from water treatment or landfill sites.

And when asked about the key factors contributing to the problem, people attributed it predominantly to the use of plastic in products and packaging, human behaviour when disposing of litter, and the single use nature of plastics.

The research, published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, is the first European public survey to focus solely on marine litter and people's attitudes towards it.

Dr Sabine Pahl, Associate Professor (Reader) in the University of Plymouth's School of Psychology, is the study's corresponding author. She said: "Marine litter is an issue without borders. But human behaviour in its many forms is the sole source of the problem, and changing perceptions and behaviour is key to preventing litter from continuing to escape into the natural environment. This research gives us useful insights so that we can attempt to motivate action on land that makes a positive change to our coastlines and oceans now and in the future."

Professor Richard Thompson OBE, Head of the University's International Marine Litter Research Unit, also contributed to the research. He added: "At a time when there is a broad commitment to address this global crisis, this research presents an interesting conundrum. It is encouraging to see there is growing public awareness of the marine litter problem, but there are clearly challenges to be overcome in convincing people that we all need to be part of the solution. There needs to be an holistic approach which includes governments and industry, scientists and the public, and this research is a useful step in finding ways to communicate that more widely."
-end-


University of Plymouth

Related Behaviour Articles:

Parents with bipolar benefit from self-help tool
Online self-management support for parents with Bipolar Disorder leads to improvements in parenting and child behavior.
It takes 2 to tango: Beetles are equal partners in mating behavior
Beetles that copulate with the same mate as opposed to different partners will repeat the same behavior, debunking previous suggestions that one sex exerts control over the other in copulation, new research has found.
Learning makes animals intelligent
The fact that animals can use tools, have self-control and certain expectations of life can be explained with the help of a new learning model for animal behavior.
Carrots and sticks fail to change behaviour in cocaine addiction
People who are addicted to cocaine are particularly prone to developing habits that render their behaviour resistant to change, regardless of the potentially devastating consequences, suggests new research from the University of Cambridge.
York U's OUCH lab pain study links children's fear of needles to parent behaviour
The researchers observed 202 parents in the Greater Toronto Area and 130 children between four and five years of age -- these children were among the 760 who were followed at the first wave at two, four, six and/or 12-month immunizations.
Can believing you are a food addict affect your eating behavior?
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have published a paper regarding their work on how beliefs about food addiction can affect eating behavior.
The hormone cortisol has been linked to increased aggression in 10-year-old boys
Spanish researchers have studied the relationship between hormones and aggressive behavior in girls and boys between the ages of 8 and 10.
Communicating genetic disease risk has little or no impact on health related behavior
Communicating the results of DNA tests has little or no impact on behavior change, such as stopping smoking or increasing physical activity, finds a study published by The BMJ today.
Manipulative behavior could be link between EI and delinquency in young women
A Plymouth University academic has published a study showing that young women with high emotional intelligence are more likely to use manipulative behaviors, resulting in a greater engagement in delinquency.
Monitoring chicken flock behaviour could help combat leading cause of food poisoning
A new technique that monitors the movement of chickens can be used to predict which flocks are at risk of becoming infected with Campylobacter -- the most common bacterial source of food poisoning in humans in the UK.

Related Behaviour Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Right To Speak
Should all speech, even the most offensive, be allowed on college campuses? And is hearing from those we deeply disagree with ... worth it? This hour, TED speakers explore the debate over free speech. Guests include recent college graduate Zachary Wood, political scientist Jeffrey Howard, novelist Elif Shafak, and journalist and author James Kirchick.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...