A majority are willing to pay for reduced eutrophication effects, for example, improved water transparency, less algal blooms and less oxygen deficiency in deep-sea bottoms.
Unique study with 10 500 respondents
The average willingness to pay varies considerably across countries, ranging from four to 110 Euros per person and year. If income differences are considered the range generally decreases however. Swedes are willing to pay the most followed by Finns and Danes. The lowest willingness to pay is found in Russia, Lithuania and Latvia.
Every second respondent had experienced the effects of eutrophication, mostly in terms of water turbidity and algal blooms, and many are worried about the environmental state of the Baltic Sea.
The study also shows that most people care about the Baltic Sea as a whole and not only about their local sea areas.
10 500 people participated in the survey, either through online questionnaires or in face-to-face interviews.
"This is a strong message to decision makers that there is public support for further actions to improve the state of the Sea. Doing too little will be costly," says Linus Hasselström, analyst at Enveco and scientific coordinator of the study in Sweden.
The results from the study will be included in a cost-benefit analysis to be published by the BalticSTERN research network during autumn 2012.