Media coverage, attention cycles and the governance of plastics pollution
MetadataShow full item record
Fluctuations in media and public attention create major challenges for the governance of environmental problems but detailed investigations of how issue-attention cycles affect environmental governance processes remain limited. This article addresses this gap using a literature analysis to examine the effects of issue-attention cycles on policy responses to plastics pollution. It explores trends and features of media coverage of plastics, their influence on public pressure for action, linkages between shifts in attention and measures to govern plastics at the international, national, sub-national and corporate levels, and options to utilise issue-attention cycles to support greater action on plastics. The review indicates that heightened media coverage has encouraged greater public engagement with plastics overall but that elements of media reporting raise questions about the coherence and longevity of public pressure for change. Links between attention peaks and increased policy activity also remain unclear, though some policy-makers have used peaks to inject momentum into policy processes and initiate longer-term reforms that buffer policy against declining interest. Alongside these techniques, new framings emphasising the economic, social and health impacts of plastics may assist in extending concern and pressure for action. The article concludes by arguing the need to deepen understandings of the properties of attention cycles for different environmental problems and their implications for governance efforts.
Recommended, similar items
The following license files are associated with this item: