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The Social Costs of Marine Litter along the East China Sea: Evidence from Ten Coastal Scenic Spots of Zhejiang Province, China

Shen, M., D. Mao, H. Xie, and C. Z. Li. 2019. Sustainability 11 (6): 1−15 Sustainability 11 (6): 1−15


Marine litter poses numerous threats to the global environment. To estimate the social costs of marine litter in China, two stated preference methods, namely the contingent valuation model (CVM) and the choice experiment model (CEM), were used in this research. This paper conducted surveys at ten different beaches along the East China Sea in Zhejiang province in October 2017. The results indicate that approximately 74.1% of the interviewees are willing to volunteer to participate in clean-up programmes and are willing to spend 1.5 days per month on average in their daily lives, which equates to a potential loss of income of USD 1.08 per day. The willingness to pay for the removal of the main types of litter ranges from USD 0.12–0.20 per visitor across the four sample cities, which is mainly determined by the degree of the removal, the crowdedness of the beach and the visitor’s perception. The social costs are USD 1.08–1.40 per visitor when the contingent valuation method is applied and USD 1.00–1.07 per visitor when the choice experiment method is adopted, which accounts for 8–14% of the beach entrance fee. The analysis of the social costs of marine litter yielded some useful implications regarding future coastal management policy, including extra entrance fee, the quality-oriented environmental strategy and more incentives to volunteers.

Keywords: social costs, marine litter, contingent valuation model, choice experiment model

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