Pollution is seen as a significant driver of climate change globally and many stakeholders have been taking action to try and

Name: Alan Shibley

Course: POL_S-316


As per the CQ Research report, plastic pollution is socially constructed as an environmental problem due to the adverse effects of plastic waste on the natural world. Pollution is seen as a significant driver of climate change globally and many stakeholders have been taking action to try and curb its menace. Although everyone acknowledges that plastic pollution a leading cause of environmental pollution, the issue has been socially constructed differently based on the sentiments of the different stakeholders involved.

The major narratives about plastic pollution are largely driven by the media reporting on natural disasters and their impacts across the globe. The first narrative is that plastic pollution is a global disaster that is already affecting millions of people and negatively impacting human health and the natural environment. The problem of plastic pollution is considered global due to the fact that it affects every region of the world; both in the developed and developing countries. The impacts of plastic pollution can be seen in the Artic Sea, Antarctic, the Pacific Islands, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and all water bodies in different regions of the world. The negative effects of plastic pollution are been felt everywhere as there is increased water, land and air pollution in all parts of the world and the health effects have been catastrophic (Earn, et al. 124).

For too far long there has been a blame game among the major environmental stakeholders on who is responsible for the huge plastic pollution across the globe. For some people, the problem lies among businesses that use plastic as their main packaging material without trying to invest in non-renewable packaging technologies that would be environmental friendly. Many in this category believe that plastic pollution is not a consumer issue as manufacturers and businesses are forcing people into using plastic more than never before due to their greed for profits. The result has been governments and businesses’ assertions that there are limited investments in climate mitigation and rehabilitation of polluted ecosystems. There are also sentiments that argue that governments and businesses are not investing enough and taking sufficient action to minimize the generation of plastic waste. Although plastic pollution is societal problem that threatens the existence of life on earth, media reporting on natural disasters has socially reengineered the public perception and conditioned people to think that it is a government and business problem.

For some people, the issue of plastic pollution is as a consumer issue. Media reports on plastic pollution are always focused on the consumer rather than the multinationals companies and businesses that continue to use produce plastic products in all its forms. Many people who support the continued use of plastic products especially in packaging argue that it is impossible to ban such products especially those considered ‘single-use.’ For them, plastic is a revolutionary product that cannot be replaced with others such as glass, paper or metal. Many people in this category tend to believe that the current culture of consumerism is responsible for the high plastic pollution rates globally (Kiener, 20). Many manufacturers and industrial users of ‘single-use’ plastics argue that replacing them would result in an increase in the environmental footprint of alternatives, high consumer good prices and reduced product performance. These sentiments are contrary to what many of those who are advocating for the ban on ‘single-use’ plastics make. For many environmental advocates, plastic pollution is a major environmental pollution which must be addressed urgently. They argue that plastic is a cost too expensive for people and nature to bear largely due to their toxicity and low rates of recyclability. Plastic pollution is affecting every aspect of our lives as tiny particles of plastic have been found in food stuffs, drinking water and lungs.

Another principal narrative story about plastic pollution is that it can be managed significantly through increased recycling. Media reports on plastic pollution are always focused on the consumer rather than the multinationals companies and businesses that continue to use produce plastic products in all its forms. In some cases, the issue is presented as one of corporate responsibility, only with focus on plastic pollution at the bottom line. This framing frequently results in a request that companies alter their operations in order to lessen their environmental impact (Wang, et al. 5). Plastic waste constitutes a significant portion of waste that is generated across the globe and recycling and reusing plastic products is seen as a major solution to addressing the menace. Media reports and government policies have created a narrative that recycling and reusing plastic waste is vital in minimizing plastic pollution and avoiding the health complications that come with it.

Stories, statistics, and other methods that highlight the detrimental effects of plastic on the environment and human health are frequently used to define the issue of plastics pollution. Stories on how plastic pollution affects marine life, for instance, frequently highlight the predicament of sea creatures and other animals that consume waste or become tangled in it. The size of the issue is also frequently illustrated by numbers and other facts, such as approximating that there are over 5.25 trillion pieces of micro-plastic waste in the ocean. Media highlights of animal deaths from suspected plastic or pollution effects are also part of the stories that have been widely used in amplifying the enormous impact of plastic pollution in water sources. The high number of people and animals that are being negatively impacted by the effects of plastic pollution are often used creating public perception about the ferocity of plastic pollution in general and its adverse effects across the globe.

Work Cited

Earn, Arielle, Kennedy Bucci, and Chelsea M. Rochman. “A systematic review of the literature on plastic pollution in the Laurentian Great Lakes and its effects on freshwater biota.” Journal of Great Lakes Research 47.1 (2021): 120-133.

Kiener, Robert. “Plastic Pollution.” CQ Researcher, 17 June 2022, pp. 1-30, library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/cqresrre2022061700.

Wang, Limin, et al. “Birds and plastic pollution: recent advances.” Avian Research 12.1 (2021): 1-9.