Plastic pollution: Overall knowledge, perceived impacts, and pro-environmental behaviours

, Soares Joana, Miguel Isabel, Venâncio Cátia, Lopes Isabel, Oliveira Miguel.

Plastic pollution is recognized as a global problem and one of the most challenging tasks for communities and governments. This environmental problem, that results from the vast applications of plastics in industrial and domestic products is associated with poor product management, from manufacturing processes to products´ end life. In this perspective, human consumption and management of daily used plastic materials can play a determinant role to control of this environmental issue. In this perspective, understanding public perceptions about plastic pollution may be a valuable resource to engage society in solutions to reduce its environmental release. In this study, perceptions about plastic pollution, its impacts as well as sociodemographic and psychological factors predicting individuals' pro-environmental behaviours were analysed in Portugal. Overall, results showed knowledge that plastics degrade in the environment. Participants of the study perceived the bio-ecological impacts of plastics as a greater threat than the socioeconomic impacts. A hierarchical regression analyses revealed that sociodemographic and variables related to knowledge and perceived impacts about plastic pollution can predict participants' pro-environmental behaviours. Awareness about the impacts of plastic pollution (socioeconomic, health impacts and bio-ecological impacts), were highly associated to pro-environmental behaviour. This study data can help to understand how to enhance pro-environmental behaviours and contribute to decrease the presence of micro(nano)plastics in the environment.

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