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Marine Debris Program Releases Study Showing Economic Impacts of Marine Debris

SEPTEMBER 28, 2019 — On September 26, the NOAA Marine Debris Program released a study by Abt Associates, Inc., evaluating the effects of marine debris on beach recreation and regional economies in four coastal communities.

Using hypothetical scenarios, this study surveyed beachgoers to understand how changes in the amount of marine debris would influence the number of days spent on those beaches. Results indicated that doubling the amount of marine debris on beaches within the study areas would decrease the number of beach visitors, whereas nearly eliminating debris would increase the number of visitors. Most notably, it suggested that a decline in beach visitor days from increased debris would have a negative economic impact - resulting in fewer tourism dollars spent and fewer local jobs.

This study illustrates the potential economic impact of marine debris on tourism-dependent coastal communities and underscores the importance of prevention and cleanup efforts. The results may help federal, state, and local agencies make decisions on marine debris prevention and removal efforts to maximize the benefits provided by clean and healthy beaches and coastal resources.

For more information, please contact Amy.Uhrin@noaa.gov. and visit the Marine Debris Program’s website and story map.

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