Could a mix of short- and long-term policies be the solution to tackle marine litter? Insights from a choice experiment in England and Ireland

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Marine litter is a problem impacting the coasts and seas of the whole world. Whilst an increasing number of studies investigate the effects of marine litter on public welfare, most of the research to date considers it as a component of coastal environmental quality. This study specifically examines the preferences and willingness to pay of English and Irish respondents towards the removal and prevention of marine litter, and the trade-off between different short-term (e.g., beach clean-up) and long-term (e.g., ban on single use plastic) policy actions. An online survey, including a choice experiment and behavioural questions, was used to quantify the welfare impacts of marine litter on the provision of recreation and cultural ecosystem services. We found that respondents are generally inclined to the implementation of a policy mix, with propensity for immediate action. Our results confirm the loss of societal benefits due to the presence of marine litter on beaches. The estimated marginal willingness to pay can be used to inform the design and assess costs and benefits of new local, national or supra-national mixed policies directed at reducing litter in the coastal and marine environment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107563
JournalEcological Economics
Early online date9 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Choice experiment
  • Marine litter
  • Public preferences
  • Reduction and prevention policies
  • Willingness to pay

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