Why Would You Litter? What behavior causes littering in nature reserves and what can be done about it according to rangers

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Present day, new products are produced and bought constantly, and are also easily and constantly thrown away. These increasing amounts of waste cause a rise of littering. Littering can especially be a problem for nature areas, as the environment is often already fragile, which means litter can seriously endanger nature in these areas. In The Netherlands, the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in more people visiting nature reserves, and thus an increase in the amount of litter. Therefore, this research seeks to asses the perspective of rangers on what behavior causes visitors of nature reserves to litter, and what measures regarding littering could be suitable to solve this issue. To achieve this, rangers and experts were interviewed and a desk research was carried out. The results show that the three cognitive structures of behavior (attitude towards the behavior, subjective norm, and perceived behavioral control) all play a role in littering behavior. The suitability of policy instruments to change behavior (carrot, whip, sermon, and nudge) differentiates between the cognitive structures. Future research could focus on litter in rivers, the role of the government in the littering problem and how to include all age groups in littering education.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen