Public attitudes towards microplastics: Perceptions, behaviors and policy implications

Catégorie : Politiques & Réglementations
Date :21 octobre 2020
Deng, Lingzhi; Cai, Lu; Sun, Fengyun; Li, Gen; Che, Yue.
Resources, Conservation and Recycling : 163
Microplastics are ubiquitous and have been found in marine environments, organisms, salt, and even human bodies. Concern about the impact of microplastics on the ecological environment, as well as the threat of microplastics to food safety and public health is increasing among the society. However, there is currently no effective technical way to tackle and remove microplastics from the environment. Thus, public attitudes are key to reducing microplastic emissions. This study investigated the public’s perceptions and attitudes towards microplastics in Shanghai and used an ordered regression model to explore the public’s willingness to reduce microplastics and its influencing factors. We used random face-to-face interviews to complete a total of 437 valid questionnaires. The survey results show that only 26% of the respondents had heard of microplastics before the survey, and the majority were relatively unfamiliar with microplastics. Although the public’s awareness of microplastics is low compared to that of other substances, when informed with the possibility that microplastics may affect human health, 75% of respondents became worried or even overly worried. In addition, the higher the respondents’ knowledge of plastics and microplastics is, the stronger their willingness to behave. Public’s concern is also an important impact factor. We found that women’s willingness to reduce emissions is higher than men’s and environmental protection-related practitioners are also more willing to act. Therefore, this article focuses on the public’s understanding of microplastics to propose measures and policy implications to reduce microplastic emissions during the process of microplastic production and recycling.