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:

Vibes before it bites: 10 types of defensive behaviour for the false coral snake
The False Coral Snake (Oxyrhopus rhombifer) may be capable of recognising various threat levels and demonstrates ten different defensive behaviours, seven of which are registered for the first time for the species.
Unwanted behaviour in dogs is common, with great variance between breeds
All dog breeds have unwanted behaviour, such as noise sensitivity, aggressiveness and separation anxiety, but differences in frequency between breeds are great.
The Lancet Psychiatry: Life-course-persistent antisocial behaviour may be associated with differences in brain structure
Individuals who exhibit life-course-persistent antisocial behaviour - for example, stealing, aggression and violence, bullying, lying, or repeated failure to take care of work or school responsibilities - may have thinner cortex and smaller surface area in regions of the brain previously implicated in studies of antisocial behaviour more broadly, compared to individuals without antisocial behaviour, according to an observational study of 672 participants published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.
World-first studies reveal occurrence of 'chew and spit' eating behaviour
A landmark study into the prevalence of the disordered eating behaviour known as 'chew and spit' has revealed concerning levels of such episodes among teenagers.
Collective behavior 480 million years ago
Researchers studied fossilized Moroccan Ampyx trilobites, which lived 480 million years ago and showed that the trilobites had probably been buried in their positions -- all oriented in the same direction.
New method improves measurement of animal behaviour using deep learning
Konstanz researchers develop deep learning toolkit for high-speed measurement of body posture in animals.
Impulsive behaviour linked to sleep and screen time, CHEO study finds
A paper published today in Pediatrics suggests that children and youth who do not sleep enough and use screens more than recommended are more likely to act impulsively and make poorer decisions.
Prenatal parental stress linked to behaviour problems in toddlers
Expectant parents' emotional struggles predict emotional and behavioural problems in 2-year-olds, new research shows.
Transformer cells: Shaping cellular 'behaviour'
Scientists from the Sechenov University, conjointly with their fellow Chinese and American researchers, have examined the latest advances in the use of skeletal muscle progenitor cells, specifying the core challenges inherent to the applicability of MPCs in cell therapy, and outlining the most promising breakthrough technologies.
Heritable behavioral differences between cat breeds
Cat breeds differ from each other in behavior with regard to activity, aggressiveness, shyness, sociability and stereotypical behavior.
More Behaviour News and Behaviour Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Reinvention
Change is hard, but it's also an opportunity to discover and reimagine what you thought you knew. From our economy, to music, to even ourselves–this hour TED speakers explore the power of reinvention. Guests include OK Go lead singer Damian Kulash Jr., former college gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, and entrepreneur Nick Hanauer.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.