Marine debris is a pervasive issue in many coastal areas of the United States, where tourism and recreation account for $124 billion in gross domestic product.

To better understand the relationship between coastal tourism economies and marine debris, the NOAA Marine Debris Program funded a study to look at how the amount of marine debris on beaches can affect the behaviors of beachgoers and as a result, the economies of coastal communities that depend on tourism. This study reveals that doubling the amount of marine debris on beaches within these coastal areas would decrease the number of days visitors spend on those beaches. This decline in beach visitor days would result in fewer tourism dollars spent, and translate into a decrease in local jobs. Read on.