Marine litter is a global challenge and society plays an important role via lifestyles and behaviour, including policy support. We analysed public perceptions of marine litter and contributing factors, using data from 1133 respondents across 16 European countries. People reported high levels of concern about marine litter, and the vast majority (95%) reported seeing litter when visiting the coast. The problem was attributed to product and packaging design and behaviour rather than lack of facilities or accidental loss of items. Retailers, industry and government were perceived as most responsible, but also least motivated and competent to reduce marine litter, whereas scientists and environmental groups were perceived as least responsible but most motivated and competent. Regression analyses demonstrated the importance of psychological factors such as values and social norms above sociodemographic variables. These findings are important for communications and interventions to reduce inputs of marine litter to the natural environment.
- Marine debris
- Public understanding