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 (plasticoceans.uk/science) 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.