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Economic valuation of marine litter and microplastic pollution in the marine environment: An initial assessment of the case of the United Kingdom Jeo Lee Cefas Lowestoft laboratory, Suffolk NR33 0HT United Kingdom; DeFiMS, SOAS, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG United Kingdom. E-mail address: July 2015 ABSTRACT Marine litter and microplastics are present in every ocean on a global scale and marine organisms at every level of the food web can ingest microplastics. Contamination of plastic particles in particular has been identified since the 1970s within the environmental status monitoring programmes, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive targets a significant reduction in levels of marine litter by 2020. It is thus important to raise the awareness of the potential economic consequences of marine litter and microplastics as they adversely impact the quality of the marine environment, the economy, wildlife and public health and safety. So far only a few studies have explored the economic consequences of marine litter and there have been none on microplastics. This study extends an existing approach to estimate cost, considering the potential economic impact of marine litter on maritime and marine economy, and microplastics on marine organisms. This stochastic approach includes direct and indirect use-value components within a framework of a total economic valuation model in order to tackle the uncertain effects of marine contaminants and pollutants of plastics and microplastics on marine organisms. A benefit- cost-ratio represents here the loss of ‘economic benefits’, where costs could have been avoided by mitigation of marine litter and microplastics pollution. Keywords: Economic valuation, marine litter, microplastics, environmental status, control measures

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untitledEconomic valuation of marine litter and microplastic pollution in the marine environment: An initial assessment of the case of the United Kingdom
Jeo Lee Cefas Lowestoft laboratory, Suffolk NR33 0HT United Kingdom; DeFiMS, SOAS, University of London, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG United Kingdom. E-mail address: July 2015
Marine litter and microplastics are present in every ocean on a global scale and marine organisms at every level of the food web can ingest microplastics. Contamination of plastic particles in particular has been identified since the 1970s within the environmental status monitoring programmes, and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive targets a significant reduction in levels of marine litter by 2020. It is thus important to raise the awareness of the potential economic consequences of marine litter and microplastics as they adversely impact the quality of the marine environment, the economy, wildlife and public health and safety. So far only a few studies have explored the economic consequences of marine litter and there have been none on microplastics. This study extends an existing approach to estimate cost, considering the potential economic impact of marine litter on maritime and marine economy, and microplastics on marine organisms. This stochastic approach includes direct and indirect use-value components within a framework of a total economic valuation model in order to tackle the uncertain effects of marine contaminants and pollutants of plastics and microplastics on marine organisms. A benefit- cost-ratio represents here the loss of ‘economic benefits’, where costs could have been avoided by mitigation of marine litter and microplastics pollution. Keywords: Economic valuation, marine litter, microplastics, environmental status, control measures
1. Introduction Marine debris (all solid waste materials) or marine litter (plastics and other man-made objects) and microplastics (component of marine debris less than 5mm in size) are found in all the world’s oceans (Cheshire et al 2009; UNEP 2012). Marine debris adversely affect the environment, the economy, human health and wildlife (UNEP 2005). Nearly 80 % of marine litter originates from land-based sources (UNEP 2009), 50-80% of marine litter is plastic (Barnes et al 2009), 70% of marine litter sinks to the seabed, and 15% continues to drift within the water column and 15% ends up on beaches (OSPAR 1995). Plastic litter on beaches has increased 140% since 1994 (MCSP 2013). Microplastic particles occur in the pelagic and sedimentary habitats at concentrations of 150-2,400 per m3 (OSPAR 2009).
However, very few studies have investigated the economic impact of marine litter on the maritime, marine industry sectors and coastal tourism, recognising that they are lost benefits to society together with the costs of clean-up to municipalities. The economic impacts of marine litter found that UK municipalities spend approximately €18 million each year removing beach litter while there is approximately a €10.4 million per year cost to municipalities in the Netherlands and Belgium (Mouat et al 2010). The report also identified that the main motivation and incentive for removing beach litter for most municipalities is the potential economic impact on marine and coastal tourism as degraded coastal areas negatively affect tourism (Mcllgorm et al 20011; Ofiara 2001).
The marine debris-related damage to marine industries was estimated at US$1.26 billion per annum in 2008 for the 21 countries in the Asia Pacific rim (Mcllgorm et al 2011). The estimation included (1) damage to motors and fishing gear (Takehama 1990; Hall 2000), vessel loss (Cho 2005), derelict fishing gear (Raaymakers 2007), damage to ferries (Mcllgorm et al 2008), (2) fisheries and aquaculture, (3) marine litter related damages and losses to harbour, ports, and (4) public health and safety. Other use-values include (5) the loss of beach access (Kirkley and Mconnell 1997). (6) Marine litter also impacts on the non-market values of scenic value (e.g. clean and unspoiled coastline), marine life, and the marine habitat and ecosystem goods and services. There are also social impacts from marine litter to residents of coastal communities, tourists, recreationists (e.g. surfers). In addition, microplastics can cause physical harm to the individual organism and leaching of toxic substances may interfere with its health, if the exposure and effects of microplastic particle toxicity in marine species, such as vulnerable bivalves i.e. mussels (mytilus edulis) (Van Cauwenberghe 2012, Wegner et al 2012) and also in human health (Berntsen et al., 2010), are identified.
Quantifying the economic costs of damages and losses from marine litter are mostly based on ‘use-value’ with market prices that are collected from ‘survey’ or ‘meta data’, and ‘value-transfer’ to calculate a cost or average cost per annum at the base year price. There is no existing literature estimating the economic impact of microplastics on marine organisms and human health and food safety due to a lack of data as most of it is laboratory-based evidence (Van Cauwenberghe, Janssen 2014). The key challenge to estimate the impacts of microplastics on biological responses and reactions is for estimating high degrees of uncertain damage reactions. This paper aims to develop a valuation model (ECoMip) using a UK bivalves industry case to estimate economic cost of microplastics that reflects ‘uncertainty’ of biological responses due to ‘data unavailability’ and ‘complexity’ in the food chain and food web effects.
2. Model & materials 2.1 Conceptual model Monetary valuation allows a benefit-cost-analysis that supports making decisions in policy options and policy guidance as well as in marine resources management. As shown in Figure 1, monetary value assessment is based on a generalised equation of total economic value (TEV, Saunders et al 2010) which is the sum of all economic values combined with use-value (UV: Bateman et al 2002) and non-use-value (NUV: Cameron 1992) that are direct use-value (DUV: e.g. marine sectors, coastal tourism and recreation benefits); fish and aquaculture with commercial value. Indirect use-value (IUV) refers to the benefits that relate to the functioning of the marine ecosystem and the marine living resources with no market value. Option value (OUV) may be of value for future use. Bequest values (VB) and existence values (EV) are non-use-values and altruistic value (use of resources by current generation) is not included. The willingness to pay (WTP) framework of contingent value
(CV: Langford et al 1998; Alberini & Zannattam 2005) and ranking (CR: Machado and Mourato 1998), using a survey or interviews with a choice of questionnaire (choice experiment: Goksen et al. 2002; Brau and Cao 2006) are the most commonly-used methods for non-market valuation. Only a few pieces of literature exist on valuing the economic effects of losses or damages in the marine sector economy and beach cleaning, that are mostly based on the user or the market value of the business sector. There is no literature on the public health or food security valuation of the results from the damages or losses of marine litter and debris. Estimated economic damage and costs of marine litter can be considered as lost benefits, which are the benefits of prevention and clean-up to society. Figure 1 below represents avoidable costs to the marine economy while the green box represents the cost of clean-up and prevention. The aggregate damages of marine litter (total costs=TC) to maritime industry include the impact of microplastics. The benefit-cost-ratio (BCR) refers to the net present value of reducing marine litter measures, if the BCR is larger than one there exists a net benefit, therefore an optimal marine litter volume can be measured in terms of the costs of control measures. Through modelling, the time scope = (t0) for a base year and the previous year will be denoted as (t-1). The MLVM in Figure 1 is a generalised economic cost valuation model of marine litter which has three dimensions of sub-models, namely: 1) marine sectors, 2), ECoMip, and 3) cleaning costs. Fig.1 Conceptual model of marine litter cost estimation within the total economic value framework
2.2 The Marine Litter Valuation Model (MLVM) The MLVM framework can be generalised as the following equation. It represents the sum of the difference between with and without marine litter damages and losses in gross revenue from all marine sectors.
(1) ( )1 1
= =
= ≅
gross revenue or net profit No of firms
f prevention measures ts control ts
where DUV, IUV, OV, BV, EV, (e) and (c) refer to direct use-value, indirect use-value, option value, bequest value, and existence value, exposure of marine litter, and marine litter concentration. The symbols β φ ϑ γ χ ε respectively refer to a value function, marine litter effects of concentration and exposure to the goods, services and organisms, a function of climate change effects such as wind, wave actions, rainfall, and flood on inflows of marine litter volume, losses of probability and magnitude, socio-economic variables such as income, population, control options cost (e.g. cleaning costs) and omitted variables in the valuation system. Delta refers to change in (i) marine industry types such as fisheries, shipping, tourism, offshore, and (j) sectors such as fishing and aquaculture, oil and gas, marine and coastal, and transport (ferry) and shipbuilding, where the expansion is within the industry type and then sums up overall industry types in the area affected by marine litter pollution.
A conceptual diagrammatic overview (MLVM) shows the marine litter stock flow and the effects of marine litter and simplified model components that will estimate an economic cost of microplastics (ECoMip). Most of the available data and evidence are from lab-based scientific biological impact responses and reactions from the exposure of microplastics on marine organisms and they are still in progress depending on the laboratory settings of the concentration and duration of microplastics, and the biological life stage of marine organisms. A specification of the model equations of ECoMiP can be summarised as: Biological mortality
(2) Total mortality (M) is defined as: 0
0 0 0
K t t M
K e t t M t
K a t t a t t t t where t K eK t
a e a K e a K e
(3) , , , 1 1 1 1( (exp{( )(1 )}), ({( (( ) / })).
0( 0, 0). s k t s a t t t t
=≥ > >
Equation (2 represents total mortality (M) which is assumed to be included as the natural mortality rate as well as predatory mortality rate. Equation 3is the species population or the quantity of the harvest (Q) of commercial species. The quantity of harvested species is a function of mortality and growth functions. And a biological response function due to marine water pollution e.g. marine litter, on shellfish is relevant with the coefficients of the mortality function and growth (weight or length) function. The effect of marine litter on marine organism such as filter-organism is assumed to be non- negative. The net present value (NPV) of the total revenue (R) of shellfish species from an area (k:
∈ ) in time (t) and (r) is the discount rate (e.g. 3.5% social discount rate for the case of the
UK) (Eq. 4). Equation (5) represents the (R) of the shellfish species (s) and is the product of price (P) and quantity ( − Δ∗ ) which is the price function with food availability (F), average growth ( ) and weight (W=length in time t), and the quantity function of mortality (M: both natural and predation) in an age (a) class. The revenue function is relevant to the biophysical growth (G) and total mortality (M). K and t0 are parameters of growth equation (G) and (a) and (b) are parameters of weight equation (Wt), and (a0), (a1), (a2) and tM are parameters ∀ > of mortality that are depending on t0 and K. ECoMiP is the integrated net present value (NPV) of the net total economic revenue which is only an endogenous variable. We set (T)=2100 from 2012 (t) with an annual time step in both biological and economic time dimension, and s=England for the area dimension with one species of filter-organism groups such as molluscs or bivalves, especially aquaculture mussels and oysters as they may have food web dynamics including those relevant to human health.
(4) , , 1 ,t
NPV R r= +∑∑∑
(5) , , , , , , , ,( ),s k t s k t s k t s k t t
R f p Q M = ×

ECoMiP stochastic process For setting up Bayesian models and performing inference via a stochastic simulation technique, Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) is the most general technique for obtaining samples from posterior density. Given a finite state (configuration) space S = {1, 2, . . . , N}, a Markov chain is a stochastic process defined by a sequence of random variables, Xi S, with a finite state (configuration) space S = {1, 2, . . . , N}, for i = 1, 2, . . . such that: Prob (Xk+1 = xk+1 | X1 = x1, . . . , Xk = xk) = Prob (Xk+1 = xk+1 | Xk = xk). The probability at the (k+1) step only depends on the state at the kth step which is independent of k, time-homogeneous Markov chains. N x N transition matrix P = (pij) defined by Pij
= Prob (Xk+1 = j | Xk = i) for i = 1, 2, . . . , N ,1 1.N
i jj p
= =∑
The MCMC is useful for inferential quantities of uncertainty from prior to posterior as in the cases of equations (2) and (3) depending on a non-standard form of posterior, however the usage is subject to approximation error. The Gibbs Sampler is a special case of the Metropolis-Hastings algorithm for the MCMC that iterates over the p sub-vectors and is using a joint model for the data and d unknown parameters. Assuming the joint prior for 2,β σ is independent,
( , , | ) ( | , , ) ( , | ) !( | , ) ( ) ( ). .
! !
p y x p y x p x nN y x I p p
r n r
β σ β σ
(7) ( ) ( | 0, ); ( 2) ( 2 | , ),
where ( | , ) is the Inverse-Gamma density. p N v p IG a b
IG a b β β β σ= =
The joint posterior density is expressed by ( )p which is not a normal distribution however the
conditionals 2( | , )p yβ σ are known.
2 1 1
( , | ) ( | ) ( ) ( ) exp[ 1 2 ( ) '( )]
ˆ ( ' ) .
p y p y p p y x y x
v v b
p y N v x x v x y v x x v
σ σ β β
β β σ σ

− − −
− − − −
− − −

∝ − − − ×
− × −
= = +
= +
ECoMiP can produce a user-value for the affected industry and the sectors that result from marine litter damages and losses. The uniqueness of this study is to oversee a long-term time frame where we set a reference year as 2012 and up to 2100 for 88 years of projections, as the concentration and distribution of microplastics and the reaction of ecology or biology might be both shorter- and longer- term dynamics under uncertainty, and plastics and microplastics persist for centuries even if marine pollution is stopped. Using equation (4), the NPV, a discounted future damage or cost to present value using a Government recommended interest rate (3.5% for the UK HM blue book) is calculated in the time of the base year 2012. The biological reaction rates vary and are uncertain in reality due to marine litter and microplastics floating over all oceans with the direction of the currents over decades, hence we set the variation as random and discreet using the MCMC algorithm throughout up to year 2100. Randomly chosen reaction coefficients for low and high responses of oysters and mussels are set, however, they are placeholders that can be replaced with any updated parameters from future experiments. The range of the reaction rates are wide as potential biological responses are most probably the aggregate effects of water pollution (e.g. chemical and toxicity) including microplastics particles ingested as the distribution and concentration of water pollution are close to coastal areas with a large human population density. And therefore, the wider range reflects vulnerability (geographical and spatial), sensitivity (species specific, biology, chemistry, toxicity) together with the uncertainty in all exogenous condition factors including the time dimension.
Recent studies showed a prevalence of microplastic particles in coastal sediments (Browne et al 2011; Claessens et al 2011). Bacteria potentially concentrate on MPs and, therefore, harmful bacteria might survive longer in marine coastal ecosystems as heavier MPs tend to accumulate close to input sources from, for example, rivers and stay close to the coast. It is thought that sewage-effluents are an important source for the contamination of the marine environment with microplastics (Brown 2011). 3. Data 3.1 Economic data relating to marine litter debris and microplastics Data used in this study are summarised in the meta data table shown below (Table 1) indicating different sources of literature, in particular in Mcllgorm et al. (2011) and the KIMO report (Mouat et al 2010). The key sources for the estimates are data and information from Hall (2000), Mouat et al. (2010) for the UK case and the case of the 21 APEC countries from Mcllgorm (2011).
Overall, the vulnerable marine and maritime sectors are shipping and coastal tourism, health and safety, and fishing related costs such as repairing and replacement of damaged or lost gear, propellers, and vessel along with restricted catch and contaminated catch due to marine litter and reduced fishing time (Table 1 category 1). The cost estimates of marine litter related to pots, harbours and marinas are damage, losses, and clean-up (Table 1 category 2). Tourism usually significantly contributes to the national GDP and in 2013 coastal tourism accounted for up to £5.48bn in Great Britain (Table 1 category 3). Health and safety costs are difficult to measure due to most minor injuries not being reported and the cost of death will involve a statically-life-value calculation (Table 1 category 5). The costs to the marine and maritime economy due to marine litter are mostly ‘lost benefit’ and the clean-up costs are preventing and reducing marine litter. £18m per year was recorded to remove beach litter that is excluding the prevention costs of litter bins and maintenance (Table 1 category 6). Category 4 in Table 3, shows the cost of cleaning the screens and disposing of the waste removed is between about €825 and €16,516 per year, where the station would remove organic debris with or without marine litter (Mouat et al., 2010). Mcllgorm (2004) reported that the average value of the marine economy across the 21 APEC economies is estimated as 3% of the total GDP, a sum of US $879bn at 2008 prices. Within the marine sector, the total value of the fishing, shipping and marine tourism sector is estimated at 48% of the value of the economy. They used the 0.3% of GDP (Takehama, 1990) to the value of different sectors in the marine economy and estimated the damage from marine debris at US $1.265bn of which the fishing, shipping and marine tourism is US $364m, US $279m, and US $622m respectively.
The direct economic impact of the UK maritime services sectors including ports, shipping, business services directly created 262,700 jobs (0.8% of UK employment) and contributed to the UK GDP £13.8bn, which was 0.9% of the UK total (£1533.33bn) in 2011. Including indirect and induced effects, the industry supported 537,500 jobs and contributed £31.7bn to the UK GDP which is 2.1%
(Oxford Economics, 2013). Pugh and Skinner (2002) estimated the marine industry contributed an estimated £38.9bn to the gross domestic product (GDP), which accounts for about 5% of GDP in year 2000 terms. The total cost of marine litter to all coastal municipalities in the UK is in the region of €17.94m - €18.78, approximately €18m each year removing beach litter. The estimated cost data of the economic impacts of marine litter is limited to some of marine sectors economy and most of them are based on Mouat et al. (2010) and Mcllogrom et al (2011). Table 1 Estimated costs on damages and losses estimates data in marine economy and other areas affected from marine litter (key sources: Mcllogorm 2008, 2011(M), Hall 2000 (H), KIMO report (Mouat et al 2010, K) among other articles & reports) Affected economy Estimated costs of damages & losses per annum ($b/£m/€)
(conversion rates, 1999, £1=$1.5; 2008 £1=€0.796; 2010 £1=€0.86) (1)Marine litter damages & losses to fisheries /aquaculture Via fishing vessels, ghost fishing, lost gear, gill net, lobster pot, crab pot, damages to propeller blades, engine.
Fisheries (£587.1m) +aquaculture (£33.19m) =£620.29m 2012 (£10.28m+£0.133562, 2008, Scotland, K). (a) Damage ratio to the sector, 0.002996 (M), £1.86m. (b)$38,000 in lost fishing time per fisher in 2002. (c) 0.0146 of landings=£5.942m (Brown et al 2005) and (d)Scottish fishing industry between €11.7m(£9.31m) - €13m (£10.35m), up to 5% of €272,112,428 (£10.83m) in 2008, (e)fouled propellers in UK £830,000 - £2,189,000 in 2008. Total shellfish 2012 £318.09m. (f)£8,000, £12000, £30,000, £45000 Shetland fishing vessel damages (H). (g)Insurance accidents in 1985 Japan 4.4bn JPY=$18.45m (Takehama 1990). Scottish Clayde fishery reported up to $21,000 in lost fishing gear (0.02%-0.09, 0.2-2.11, 0.05-3.2, EC FAIR P298, 2003), trap (10-30%), net (0.06-2%), 2-3% (hoot). (h)$38,000 in lost fishing time per fisher (11442, £3.321) in 2002 (Watson and Bryson 2003). Ghost fishing in the Cantabrian sea equates to approximately (i) 0.0146 of landings of £407m = £5.942m (Brown et al 2005) and (j) $250m worth of lobster is lost to ghost fishing annually (Allsopp et al 2006). (k) 4-10 million blue crabs ($400,000) are trapped in ghost fishing gear each year in Louisiana (Macfadyen et al 2009). (l)Scottish fishing industry between €11.7m - €13m (up to 5% of €272,112,428 in 2008(K), (h) 286 rescues of vessels with fouled propellers in UK £830,000 - £2,189,000 in 2008.
(2) Shipping (port/harbour/ marina/transport/ shipbuilding/repair)
(a)10.6%/0.002995/derelict fishing gear damage to ferry (Hong Kong). (b) clean-up ports & harbour $25,000 p.t. Raaymakers, 2007, $19,000 (M). (c) Port, harbour (£1.39m, £8.1b, K), 2012-turnover £7.9b, ports; £5.6b shipping. (d) Ports & harbour: up to £1200 per incident and on average 1 hour per month, clean-up up to £15,000 a year, up to £10,000 a year (Hall 2000). €2.4m (€8,034.37 per harbour). (e) Marinas with costs as high as €38,537.55 in ports and harbours in the UK (UKHMA, 2010 adopted from K). Harbours €2.4m (£2.6m), €8000 per harbour (£6880), UK €18m (£15.5m, K).
(3)Marine tourism (leisure services)
(a)Damage ratio, 0.003 (M). 0.003 (Jang et al 2014). (b) 1-5 % resulting in a loss of £15m Sweden, Ten Brink et al 2009. (c) New York in 1988 the beach closure $379m- $1.6b in lost tourist and other revenues ($3.6b) (Ofiara & Brown, 1999). (c)Coastal tourism, in €7 billion (Tourism Alliance 2007) - €11 billion (Deloitt e 2008) to the UK. £5.48 billion coastal visits in Great Britain (2013). Tourism 3.7% of national UK GDP (Deloitt e 2008).
(4)Oil and gas (energy, mineral)
Sector value, £400m (6000 jobs). The cost of cleaning € 16,516.09. € 825.80 (K).
(5)Health & safety (emergency, injury, vet costs, life boat)
(a) Emergency rescue £2200 - £5800 per incident 1998. £506,000 and £1.334m (H), £1.88254 (K). (b) US (2005) coastguard 15 deaths 116 injuries and $3 million in property damage (Moore 2008). (c) Rescues to vessels fouled propellers cost €0.83m - €2.189m (K). (d) 1-2 entanglement incidents and life threatening case UK, 70% of ports and marinas in UK incidents.
(6)Shoreline cleaning (a)Per tonne: $100 (volunteer, Korea, 2009); (b) $1300 (Korea, Cho 2005, Hwang, Ko 2007). (c)$1100, $2200, $11400. $22800 (France, Kalaydjian et al 2006). (d)Average cost €0.01 - €3.99 per person. (e)Prevention costs of litterbins and maintenance cost €159,496.60, approximately €17.936m (K). (f)External sponsorship €13273.25. (g)Annual costs of municipalities €627.91-€97346.15 per km, €24441.04 (the Netherlands and Belgium). (h)€2.4 (£2.06), €8000(£6880), €18m (£15.5m), €10(£8.6) (K), £3.004895, Scotland (H & K). (i) 56 UK local authorities £2.2 million beach cleansing (H), £14 million 2004 (OSPAR 2009). (j)Swedish Skagerrak coast in 2006 €1.5 million (OSPAR 2009). Poland the shoreline of 5 municipalities and 2 ports €570,000 (Naturvardsverket 2009).
The potential impact of marine litter on marine services in 2012 such as mapping (~0.4% to GDP, or £500m, 7000 jobs), marine research and education (~0.4%, £300m, 15000 jobs), defence (~17%), coastal construction and restoration (~3.6%), and manufacturing equipment (~4.1%, £800m, 10000 jobs), recreational angling (£69.7m, Scotland 2009), sailing (£101m Scotland 2010), renewables (£32m 2008 Pugh) is excluded in the estimation due to lack of data. Other excluded costs of the consequence of marine litter are: (i) introducing a non-native species through a colonisation of marine litter (Moore, 2008, Gregory, 2009, Allsopp et al., 2006); (ii) costs to coastal agriculture; (iii) marine
litter that can affect the environmental damage and ecosystem degradation including the entanglement of wildlife to the loss of biodiversity although the economic damages associated with ecological effects of marine debris have not included due to data availability; finally (iv) that the SSA (2014) targets 25000 volunteers and cleans 1000 beaches by 2020. The economic costs of voluntary involvement in removing beach litter will be substantial at £234,025 per year, using €16.23 on average in volunteer time each year at £1=€0.86, and in 2010 the 8809 volunteers contributed approximately £122,954 per year in the Beachwatch and National Spring Clean campaigns (Mouat et al 2010). 3.2 Environmental Data Distribution and concentration of microplastics All sizes of plastics are found on the beach (Thompson et al 2004; Claessens et al 2011; Martins and Sobral 2011; Liebezeit and Dubaish 2012; Turner and Holmes 2011), including estuarine sediments (Thompson et al 2004), coastal waters (Noren, Naustoll 2010, 2011; Edwards et al 2011), sub-tidal sediments (Thompson et al 2004), harbour and ferry shipping routes and industrial coast sediments (Noren, 2008) (Table 1). Microplastics were found in sub-tidal sediments, continental shelf sediments and harbour sediments (Reddy et al 2006; Clessens et al 2011; Thompson et al., 2004; Graham and Thompson 2009). Noren and Naustvoll (2010) found highly concentrated microplastics of approximately 100000 plastic particles/m3 of coastal water in Swedish harbour areas adjacent to a polyethylene production plant. Shoreline environments are prone to photo-degradation and abrasion due to wave, wind, current and storm activities and sediment movement (Barnes et al., 2009; Gregory 1977; Thompson et al 2004). Table 2 Distribution and abundance of microplastics (Leslie et al. 2011, Wright et al. 2013) CPR: continuous plankton recorder, beach research in intalic. Location Maximum observed concentration Reference Beach (UK) 8 particles kg-1 Thompson et al, 2004 Beach (Belgium) 1mg kg-1 Claessens et al. 2011 Beach (Portugal) 6 particles m2 Martins and Sobral 2011 Beach, East Frisian islands (Germany) 621 particles 10g-1 Liebezeit and Dubaish 2012 Beach ( Malta) >1000 particles m2 Turner and Holmes 2011 North West Atlantic ocean 67000 particles km2 Colton et al, 1974 North West Atlantic ocean 10.66 μm (90s)to 5.05 μm (2000s) Moret-Fergusaon et al., 2010 North Pacific subtropical Gyre 32.76 particles m3/250 mg/m3 Goldstein et al. 2012 Coastal waters (Sweden) 102000 particles m3 Noren and Naustoll 2010 Coastal areas N. Atlantic ocean (UK) Widely detected Edwards et al. 2011 South coast (Norway) 0.2 to 1 particles/L Noren and Naustoll 2011 Coastal waters, California (USA) 3 particles m3 Doyle set al 2011 Coastal waters, New England (USA) 3 particles m3 Carpenter et al 1972 Harbour and ferry (Sweden) 0-0.3m . 150-2400 particles/m3 (80μm) Noren 2008 Harbour and ferry (Sweden) 0-0.3m 0.01 to 0.04 particles/m3 (450μm) Noren 2008 Harbour polyethylene plant (Sweden) 102000 polyethylene particles/m3 Noren 2008 Shipping routes (UK) CPR 0.04-0.05 fibres/m3 (1980) Thompson et al. 2004 Industrial harbour sediment (Sweden) 3320 particles 1-1 Noren 2008 Industrial coast sediment (Sweden) 3401-1 Noren 2008 Ship breaking yard sediment (India) 89 mg kg-1 Reddy et al 2006 Harbour sediment (Belgium) 7 mg kg-1 Clessens et al 2011 Continental shelf sediment (Belgium) 1 mg kg-1/115 particles/kg Claessens et al 2011 Sub-tidal sediment (UK) 86 particles kg-1 Thompson et al. 2004 Sub-tidal sediment, Florida (USA) 214 particles kg-1 Graham and Thompson 2009 Sub-tidal sediment, Maine (USA) 105 particles -1 Graham and Thompson 2009 Estuarine sediment (UK) 31 particles kg-1 Thompson et al. 2004 An indicator of declining water quality that might lead to a reduction in the number of visitors however, as shown in recent literature of a case of Egypt shows the public awareness of BFA is not clear. Nonetheless most developed countries’ coastal and marine tourism industries are attempting to promote BFA for revenue income and livelihood of community. In the case of England in 2013, 55 beaches were BFA compliance (awarded) under the high standard of the new EU Bathing Waters Directive (Figure A1 in Appendix). The most vulnerable areas from a tourist perspective to changes in
bathing water quality are the Blue Flag Beaches. This label is closely linked to water quality assessment, including the presence of human pathogens, such as E. coli bacteria. In the UK, a total of 55 beaches have the Blue Flag Label. A recent inventory of the presence of microplastics particles in beach sediments across six continents revealed that MPs were present on all beaches with a tendency towards fibrous shapes (Brown, 2011). Beaches located close to densely populated areas were contaminated with more microplastics than those further away from human population. In recent years, promoting environmental quality through certification on bathing water quality, safety, and criteria of environmental quality has become popular. For example, the Blue Flag Award (BFA), is used as a label of good bathing water quality, since its first implementation in 1987 (and followed by the 2006/7/EC Directive revoking the 76/160/EEC Directive). 3.3 Environmental effects: microplastic particle toxicity in marine organisms & mammals The accumulation of microplastics (MPs) in marine environments has raised health and safety concerns due to their small size, MPs are potentially ingested by low trophic suspension, filter and deposit feeders, detritivores and planktivores (Browne 2008; Graham and Thompson2009; Murray and Cowie 2011; Setälä et al 2014; Thompson et al 2004). The susceptibility of marine organisms to microplastics ingestion or interaction has been reported, as listed in Table 3 from various laboratory experiments. Marine plastic debris is gradually becoming smaller size particles to be susceptible to exposure to sedimentary habitats, deposits and detritus feeding organism microplastics (Table 3). The impact of the physiological condition of marine organisms from plastic ingestion is in progress with laboratory-based feeding experiments; however it is likely that microplastics ingestion is occurring in the natural environment. Besides the form of the physical and chemical impacts of microplastics, the pelagic invertebrate community (e.g. h. sericeus) and rafting community (e.g. phyla cnidaria, crustacean and ectoprocta) may be considered vulnerable to population-level microplastic associated changes (Glodstein et al 2012; Thiel and Gutow 2005).
Table 3 marine organisms susceptible to macroplastic ingestion studies (1972-2014) Marine species Microplastics exposure and effect Reference Mussel (Mytilus edulis)
Inflammation, decrease in lysosome stability (absorption 1- 80μm). Reduced clearance rate (10, 30, 90 μm). Reduced valve opening and filtering activity. (30 nm plastics). 2-16 μm ingest, 1000 to 20000 particles ml-1, 4-16μm (accumulation), translocation, and shape.
Koehler & von Moos, 2010 Van Cauwenberghe, 2012 Wegner et al 2012 Browne et al., 2008, Ward and Kach 2009, Ward et al. 2003, Bolton and Havenh1998
Mussel and oyster (Suspension-feeding,
Van Cauwenberghe 2014
deposit, detritus- feeding organisms)
1, 1.6, 3-4 μm (suspension-feeding bivalves), accumulation 20 μm, 2 μm (molluscs)
Gosling, 2003, Ward and Shumway 2004
20-2000 μm ingestion (Orchestia gammarellus), 0.25 -15μm (holothurians), size based selectivity (polychaete A. marina), 5 mm nylon rope fragments (N. norvegicus), egestion (E. affinis)
Thompson et al. (2004), Graham and Thompson (2009), Zebe and Schiedek (1996), Murray and Cowie (2011)
Filter- and suspension- feeders, planktivores
0.75μm indistinguishiable (ciliates), 3, 10, 20 μm (echinoderm larvae), 13.9-50 μm (filter-feeding calanoid copepod acartia tonsa ), accumulation 0.6-20 mm (plankton), 20 nm plastics (Phytoplankton (Scenedesmus)
Christaki et al. 1998, Bolton and Havenhand 1998, Wilson 1973, Carpenter et al. 1972, Bhattacharya et al. 2010
Marine food web 36.5% of fish (English Channel), 1/3 of fish (Boerger et al 2010), 24 nm nano plastics (Carp, Carassius carassius), 1mm (seals, sea lions)
Lusher et al. 2012, Boerger et al. 2010, Cedervall et al 2012, Glodsworthy et al 1997, McMahon et al. 1999.
Human Gastro-intestinal tract, taken up in lymph and circulatory system, Placenta (50,80,240, 500 nm particles), Decreased cell contractility (40 nm particles)
Hussain et al. 2001, Wick et al 2010, Berntsen et al 2010
Macroplastics, microplastics, and nanoplastics (up to 240 nm) may be ingested by higher trophic level organisms, which ingest microplastics transport by prey items such as in seals and sea lions (Goldsworthy et a 1997; McMahon et al 1999) and seabirds, as well as about one third of the fish in the seas (Lusher et al 2012; Boerger et al 2010) and also by lower trophic organisms such as
invertebrates ingested and accumulated, such as in the mollusc bivalves species (Brown et al 2008; Thompson et al 2004; Graham and Thompson 2009).
Small plastic particles do not only have an impact because of their particle toxicity, but also contain chemical substances that could be taken up by marine organisms affecting their metabolism and growth and digestive systems. MPs especially concentrate hydrophobic persistent organic pollutants (POPs), such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichloro diphenyldichloro ethylene (DDE), nonylphenol and phenanthrene, which can become several orders of magnitude concentrated on the surface of plastic debris (Mato et al., 2000). The human health effect of microplastics and nanoplastics are discussed in Leslie et al. (2011) stating that polyethylene microparticles (e.g. 150 µm) can be absorbed by the gastro-intestinal lymph and circulatory systems of exposed humans.
4. Model and Results 4.1 Modelling In equation (1) two of the components in the MVLM of marine litter will be expanded with the ECoMiP model of microplastics, which is the cost in tourism damage and losses (Category 3) and fisheries and aquaculture (Category 1). In relating the costs to reducing beach litter on the coastal tour, increased levels of harmful bacteria may lead to deteriorating bathing water quality due to microplastics. Marine litter or microplastics are not only 'mini sponges' for all kinds of toxic products, but also provide a habitat for a variety of marine bacteria, and may act as a vector for additives through the marine environment (Cole et al 2011) although information on marine bacteria being able to colonize the surface and cracks of plastic litter is limited (Zettler et al 2013). Both the adverse impact such as health (bathing water quality) and losing the Blue Flag Award status (commercial reputation) of marine litter and microplastics on the coastal tour revenue in the Blue Flag beach communities would be significant. The additional impact from microplastics to category 1 is the potential ingestion effects by filter feeders like mussels and oysters (Brillant and MacDonald, 2000; Browne 2008). In laboratory experiments, plastic particles of 30mm polysterene were observed to be retained in the guts of mussels (mytilus edulis), and oysters (crassostrea gigas), with the average retention of microplastics 20% of 2 µm particles and 85% of 6 µm particles (Wegner et al 2012). The UK aquaculture of shellfish industry in 2012 employed 705 people and produced over 27350 tonnes at over £33m at first sale. The UK remains a leading aquaculture producer by value within the European Union. England leads shellfish aquaculture (£10.1m) followed by Wales (£9m), Scotland (£8.8m), and Northern Ireland (£5.4m).
From the value of shellfish production, England is vulnerable from the potential economic losses from microplastics ingestion related mortality and growth rate in shellfish species (Figure A2 Appendix). As shown in Table 4, the potential losses per annum to the UK shellfish production at the 2012 base price due to potential reduction of growth rate and increased mortality by ingestion and toxic reaction of microplastics to shellfish, is projected to be from ~£0.13m to ~£0.8m when the time integrated net present value (NPV) up to 2100 is projected at a fixed 3.5% social discount rate. The estimation assumed that plastics and microplastics persist in the marine environment for the long term however, such longer-term effects are complex to translate into quantified losses and damages. The UK landings of shellfish are recorded (Fisheries Administrations in the UK) in a quantity of 148000 tonnes and a value of £284.9m in 2012. Mussels landed show £0.3m while crustaceans (crabs, lobsters, nephrops, shrimps and prawns) account for £181.8m in value in 2012. The potential economic losses in relating to macroplastic ingestion on mussels and oysters in the UK would be economic losses in the shellfish fisheries and aquaculture of £1.3m to £8.04m per year from a long-run projection up to 2100. The European Commission MSFP targets reducing marine litter by up to 50% by 2020 however, most of the marine plastics remain on the sea floor for over a few hundred years and the volumes are assumed to be increasing and therefore, the projection of gradually increasing the volume over time is reasonable. Most laboratory-based experiments found that bivalves’ molluscs are vulnerable marine organisms (Table 3) to microplastics-related ingestion on their bio-responses and reactions and the estimated potential economic loss to mussels and oysters is between £0.138m - £0.843m per year depending on the microplastics concentration scenario and biological response (Table 4). However, the majority of the UK shellfish fishery is crustaceans or cephalopods; ~72% in 2012. Assuming no change in the quantity of shellfish catch and value, even a high damage scenario will only result in a
0.4-2.5% loss of the NPV of the shellfish fishery. Due to the food chain however, microplastics could be potentially transferred to shellfish consumers and according to Van Cauwenberghe et al. (2014) shellfish consumers such as oysters and mussels would be exposed to approximately 11000 microplastics per annum. Further work using a wider range of commercially popular shellfish species such as scallop, crab, lobster, nephrop, and prawn and shrimp may be beneficial to producers and consumers.
Table 4 Time integrated net present values (NPV) by 2100 of the potential economic losses to UK mollusc and shellfish fisheries under high and low microplastics contamination volumes, and the NPV of these fisheries assuming no catch decreases. The low and high end of each value corresponds to low and high biological impact of microplastics on oysters and mussels low (30 nm –50 nm: Browne et al 2008), high (24-90 particles, Cedervall et al. 2012, Van Cauwenberghe, 2012). NPV’s are in £millions.
Time integrated net present value (NPV) by 2100 of the economic losses to UK shellfish, mollusc, and aquaculture (per annum million £ in 2012)
Micorplastics ingestion scenario with NPV (£million) by 2100
Low MPs/m^3 surface or L/kg sediment
Biological responses
Biological responses No responses of
(10%) High
(25%) Low
(10%) High
(25%) England mussel and oyster NPV £0.041m-£0.137m £0.077m-£0.255m Total: £10.06m Wales mussel and oyster NPV £0.038m-£0.125m £0.07m-£0.223m Total: £9.12m Scotland mussel and oyster NPV £0.036m-£0.119m £0.067m-£0.221m Total: £8.673m Northern Ireland mussel and oyster NPV £0.022m-£0.073m £0.041m-£0.136m Total: £5.347m UK shellfish aquaculture NPV £0.137m-£0.456m £0.255m-£0.847m Total £33.19m UK shellfish landings NPV £1.179m-£3.910m £2.192m-£7.291m Total: £284.9m UK mussel and oyster NPV £0.138m-£0.458m £0.257m-£0.843m Total: £33.5m UK mussels landings NPV £0.001m-£0.004m £0.002m-£0.008m Total: £0.3m Total UK shellfish production losses £1.316m-£4.366m £2.447m-£8.138m Total£318.09m Total UK mussels and oysters £0.139m-£0.462m £0.259m-£0.851m Total £33.8m
4.2 Results As shown in Table 1 and Table 4 the distribution of the microplastics concentration varies more in the South West region (Figure A2) of England with a higher proportion of oyster and mussel production and therefore, the region may be more vulnerable to the impact of microplastics. Another important source of bivalves’ production in the UK is aquaculture that is a rapidly expanding industry and all of the shellfish farmed in the UK are molluscs; in particular, oyster production is entirely reliant on the aquaculture in the UK. 85% of shellfish aquaculture farming in the UK (e.g. Hampshire & Isle of Wight and Essex regions) was mussels (Mytilus edulis) in 2012 (Cefas 2013) and therefore marine litter, microplastics and nanoplastics could cause economic losses. Table 5 Estimated costs of potential marine litter related damages and losses to marine and maritime economy: Estimates based on the meta data listed in Table 1. The impact of microplastics in integrated. Affected industry Damage & losses (m) Control costs Net benefit Fisheries /aquaculture Damage to fishing vessels, fishing time
£26.79 - £35.55 Prevention (waste management, maintenance) + Control(beach litter removal) £15.4m+£16m
Benefit/Cost Ratio (BCR)>=1 Cost effectiveness on marine litter reduction and prevention
Maritime sectors £3.90 - £1.30 Marine sectors-coastal tourism £5.49 - £16.46 Oil and gas £0.0071-£0.0142 Health & safety £0.51 -£1.33 Total £38m - £56.4m £31.4m +1.2 - +1.8 The estimated costs of potential marine litter and microplastics-related costs are aggregated between £38m and over £56m and the control (e.g. collecting beach litter) costs are over £31m and therefore, the net benefit of controlling marine litter shows the benefit-cost-ratio is +1.2 - +1.8, which indicates that each pound used on reducing marine litter by a municipal would have a value of 180%. According to the IEC Report (2012), there appears to be about £65m benefit from 100% reduction of marine litter with about $14 million with a 25% reduction at beaches in Orange County in the United States. It implies that an optimal stock of marine litter is the intersection between the marginal cost of prevention and marginal damage cost (marginal benefit), not at a stock of ‘zero marine litter’ due to the costs. In Table 5, the vulnerable marine sectors include damage to the fishing vessels and fisheries sector (about £35m) as 10% of global marine litter is discarded or lost fishing gear (0.02%-
3.2%, EC FAIR 298 2003) which continues to catch and harm fish, birds, dolphins and marine mammals. This is known as ghost fishing (EEA 2013).
The next highest proportion of the costs relating to marine litter is coastal tourism (up to £16.5m). The socio-economic consequences of certifying the Blue Flag Award (Figure A1 in Appendix) are not clear, however, the criteria of the programme include ‘bathing water quality’ and ‘health and safety’ from marine litter debris, as more than half of the marine litter is attributed to shoreline and recreational activities (UNEP 2005). The spatial pattern, weight of seabed marine litter was found close to the coast likely as a consequence of high coastal urbanisation and river inflow. In the marine environment, the non-degradable and non-decomposable materials are those such as metal and glass (Andrady 2011). The main motivation of beach litter collection by municipalities is to protect coastal tourism for the communities (Table 1). As illustrated in Figure A2, the regions of shellfish production are related to the Blue Flag beach regions, and the distribution of microplastics’ concentration is also overlapping adjacent areas in South West England and some of the South East of England. Therefore, these regions need rapid prevention of legislation, industry standards, and control of reducing marine litter would induce leverage effects. 4.3 Policy and legislation on marine litter With increasing levels of marine debris from the world totalling 6.36m tons in the 1970s (NAS 1975) to over 100m tons in 2000s (AMRF 2008), marine pollution policy is needed in order to reduce marine debris using control options, such as regulations (Junga et al., 2009), community-based initiatives (Mcllgorm et al 2009; Junga et al 2010) and market-based instruments (McIlgorm et al., 2009; Ten Brink et al., 2009). A wide range of international agreements and legislation have been addressed to prevent and to reduce marine litter in the marine environment. For example there was the early development in the United Nations Convention and Oceans and the Law of the Sea (1973-1982), International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL73/78) Annex V. London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972, and 1996 Protocol relating thereto. Key European legislation includes the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (2008/56/EC) and the EU Directive on port reception facilities for ship-generated waste and cargo residues (EC2000/59) among other European directives and provisions relating to marine litter. In 2009, the United Kingdom introduced legislation, the ‘Marine and Coastal Access Act’ to protect the marine environment. As emphasised in the SAS marine litter report (2014), personal and industry behavioural changes and encouraging community beach clean activities are recognised along with suggested legislation to address enforcing fines for littering at beaches and banning smoking on beaches among other responsible behavioural changes. Microplastics less visible on the sediments of the sea floor require imposing environmental costs in transnational or high seas areas to achieve a lower cost “fishing for debris” solution (Ha et al 2006; McIlgorm et al 2009). 5. Concluding remarks The benefit-cost-ratio (BCR) reported in Table 5 indicates there are considerable benefits to reduce the stock of marine litter for prevention and clean-up or collection. The estimated potential aggregated costs resulting from the consequence of adverse marine litter effects on marine and maritime industries are identified at over £54m while the costs of clean-up and prevention costs are over £34m per annum. It is identified that the clean-up costs of ports, harbours, and beaches and marinas are the major costs to the maritime industry in the UK. The marine litter related damages and losses are significant to the fishing vessel, propeller and gear. Coastal tourism together with bathing water quality is also vulnerable to beach litter, and the potential costs show up to £16m per year. Larger economic losses from a ‘beach closure’, ‘emergency’ or death’, the value of wildlife’ are however excluded as, if included, high-magnitude low-frequency incidences would overvalue the cost estimates. An economic cost valuation of the biophysical reactions in mollusque-bivalves organisms from ingesting microplastics is estimated using an ECoMip model of stochastic approach in order to capture uncertainty. Limitations include the difficulty to address the food chain effect as marine organisms and sea creatures at every level of the food web ingest microplastics, for example, ingested plastics in sea fish stomachs (Allsopp et al., 2006; Teuten et al, 2009), and concentrate persistent
organic pollutants (POPs) to the biota (GESAMP, 2010). It is also difficult to estimate the value of the marine and wildlife which can result in direct harm and death (Laist, 1987, 1997; Moore et al., 2001). Finally a wider range of evidence is required, e.g. the reactions of physical and the food chain effects on marine organisms from microplastics-related contaminants and pollutants, in order to generalise scientific results for quantifying the potential damages and losses of substantial economic consequences. Acknowledgements This study was supported by the centre of environment, fisheries & aquaculture science, and and the EU INTERREG project MICRO. The author thanks to Van Dalfsen, J.A., Van der Meulen, M.D., DeVriese, L., Huvet, A., Soudant, P., Maes, T., Robbens, J., Vethaak, A.D.for the useful discussions on experimental research on microplastics . I am very grateful to Eva Garnacho for advice, comments and in particular to invite me to the UK marine litter forum in 2014. I also thank Siegi Arndt at Eftec for organising and invite me to the conference of applied environmental economics on UKNEE in 2015. The review comments on the manuscript and model equations from Professor Pasquale Scaramozzino from DeFiMS-SOAS are gratefully acknowledged. The author assume full responsibility for any remaining errors.
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Appendix Bathing Water Quality (Figure A1, left), sources: Open data from the Environment Agency Water quality at designated bathing water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency. From May to September, weekly assessments measure current water quality, and at a number of sites daily pollution risk forecasts are issued. Annual ratings classify each site Grade as excellent, good, sufficient or poor based on measurements taken over a four year period. Key: designated bathing water, water quality warning Fig. A1. Bathing water quality by Environment Agency. Figure A2 (right): Major molluscs’ centres in England and Wales (Source: David Palmer Cefas)
Table A1. Assumptions and parameters entered into the ECoMiP Description Unit 1 Low 3-10 particles (Browne et al 2008, Maes 2014): Average value between 3 and 10 3-10
2 High 24-90 particles (Cedervall et al. 2012, Van Cauwenberghe, 2012): Averaged value between 24 and 90 24-90
3 Low MPs/m^3 surface or L/kg sediment with -10% negative effect coefficient 10% 4 Low MPs/m^3 surface or L/kg sediment with -25% negative effect coefficient 25% 5 High MPs/m^3 surface or L/kg sediment with -10% negative effect coefficient 10% 6 High MPs/m^3 surface or L/kg sediment with -25% negative effect coefficient 25% 7 Social discount rate: UK HM recommended discount rate 3.50% 8 Simulation years: 2012-2100 time scope to cover long term effect under uncertainty 88 years
9 Total shellfish value landed in the UK by UK vessels in 2012 (marine management organisation, MMO, fisheries administration) £284.9 m
10 Total shellfish aquaculture in the UK in 2012 (Cefas 2013) £33.19m 11 Mussel value in England (£5.9657m), Wales (£8.996m), Scotland(£7.5324m), Northern Ireland(£4.79792m), 12 UK total of mussels (Cefas 2013) £27.29402m 13 Landing value of mussels (MMO) £0.4m 14 Total oyster value in the UK £5.754706m. 15 Oyster value in England (£4.053106m), Wales (£0.012m), Scotland(£1.1404m), Northern Ireland(£0.5492m), 16 11.96 million visits to the UK for a holiday involve in 2012 £7.5 billion 17 Population growth based on 2012 the UK average rates (persons) 0.06%
18 Economic costs of beach cleaning include waterway and beach cleanup, installation of storm water capture devices, storm drain cleaning, manual cleanup of litter, public education etc (Ref. Kier Associates , 2012)
£0.45, £0.94,£3.71, £7.42
20 Regional tourism revenue total averaged between 2010 and 2012: £14.749 bn