Public Perceptions of Plastics – From Pollution to Solutions

Theme: Environmental Hazards & Pollution

Primary Supervisor:

Lesley Henderson

Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel

Lesley Henderson's Profile Picture

Secondary Supervisor:

Susan Jobling

Institute of Environment, Health and Societies, Brunel

Susan Jobling's Profile Picture

Project Description:

Plastic pollution is widespread in the environment, entering the oceans, accumulating in gyres and ingested by organisms at all trophic levels from plankton to whales with potentially lethal consequences. By entering the food chain and acting as a carrier for persistent organic pollutants there is also concern for human health impacts through the consumption of seafood. Plastic pollution is currently a hot topic. It has become the subject of an award winning documentary film “A Plastic Ocean” (2017, Netflix) headed by film producer, Jo Ruxton, of Blue Planet, Saving Planet Earth, Pacific Abyss, and LIFE.

This project involves close collaboration with Jo Ruxton”s Plastic Oceans Foundation ( and provides a unique opportunity to develop an environmental social sciences perspective concerning public attitudes and behaviour to plastics in everyday life. The study involves innovative mixed methods such as visual and textual analysis, qualitative research with different stake holders and tracking public engagement via social media. A key aim is to assess the impact of this film on attitudes and behaviour and the willingness of the public to engage with positive solutions to the plastics problem.

Policy Impact of Research:

By understanding public attitudes, behaviours and their engagement with solutions your research will help the Plastic Oceans Foundation to influence regulation, technological innovation and changes in business practices to create solutions to the plastics pollution problem.

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