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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


  • Manhong Shen

    (School of Economics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
    School of Business, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China)

  • Di Mao

    (School of Economics, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China)

  • Huiming Xie

    (School of Business, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China)

  • Chuanzhong Li

    (Department of Economics, University of Uppsala, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Manhong Shen & Di Mao & Huiming Xie & Chuanzhong Li, 2019. "The Social Costs of Marine Litter along the East China Sea: Evidence from Ten Coastal Scenic Spots of Zhejiang Province, China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(6), pages 1-15, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:11:y:2019:i:6:p:1807-:d:217114

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    1. Salma Khedr & Katrin Rehdanz & Roy Brouwer & Hanna Dijkstra & Sem Duijndam & Pieter van Beukering & Ikechukwu C. Okoli, 2021. "Public preferences for marine plastic litter reductions across Europe," Papers 2107.03957,
    2. Rogério Portantiolo Manzolli & David Blanco & Luana Portz & Andrea Yanes & Seweryn Zielinski & César Augusto Ruiz Agudelo & Andres Suarez, 2022. "Large Wood Debris Contributes to Beach Ecosystems but Colombian Beachgoer’s Do Not Recognize It," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 14(13), pages 1-22, July.
    3. Khedr, Salma & Rehdanz, Katrin & Brouwer, Roy & van Beukering, Pieter & Dijkstra, Hanna & Duijndam, Sem & Okoli, Ikechukwu C., 2023. "Public preferences for marine plastic litter management across Europe," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 204(PA).
    4. Maria Carla de Francesco & Maria Laura Carranza & Marco Varricchione & Francesco Pio Tozzi & Angela Stanisci, 2019. "Natural Protected Areas as Special Sentinels of Littering on Coastal Dune Vegetation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(19), pages 1-16, October.
    5. Mirko Di Febbraro & Ludovico Frate & Maria Carla de Francesco & Angela Stanisci & Francesco Pio Tozzi & Marco Varricchione & Maria Laura Carranza, 2021. "Modelling Beach Litter Accumulation on Mediterranean Coastal Landscapes: An Integrative Framework Using Species Distribution Models," Land, MDPI, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, January.

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