Wicked Problem of Plastics and the Discourse Surrounding its Governance

This project seeks to improve how we use and dispose of plastic by looking at how we talk about plastic. 

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A GCRF Global Engagement Network

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How we perceive plastic has changed drastically in the previous half-century even as its use has become more widespread, from a world-changing opportunity to an environmental catastrophe.   It is the very durability of plastic that makes it so useful for preserving food and maintaining hygiene that also makes disposing of it one of the key global challenges recognised for their fiendish complexity as “wicked problems” requiring multiple types of solutions to be developed by multiple academic disciplines and sectors of society.

This project seeks to improve how we use and dispose of plastic by looking at how we talk about plastic. It examines how local and national governments and organisations frame written, visual and verbal communication about plastic and asks how this can be translated into behaviour change and activism that leads to better laws and more effective governance.

The project investigates these discourses to learn how the “plastics story” is told in different countries and how this influences consumers, activists, regulators and other key decision-makers.

This project is funded under the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Research Networking Scheme: 2019 Global Challenges Research Fund Highlight Notice for International Development.

Project team

Principal Investigators

Nicholas Oguge profile image

Professor Nicholas Oguge

Principal Investigator, Network Director

Rosalind Malcolm profile image

Professor Rosalind Malcolm

Co-principal Investigator, Network Co-director

UK team

Itziar Castello Molina profile image

Dr Itziar Castello Molina

Co-investigator (leading on communications component)

Noreen O'Meara profile image

Dr Noreen O'Meara

Co-investigator (leading on legal component)

Placeholder image for staff profiles

Dr Matthew Peacock

Research Fellow

Caribbean team

Anthony Clayton profile image

Professor Anthony Clayton

Project Partner

Andrea Clayton profile image

Dr Andrea Clayton

Project Partner

Kwame Emmanuel profile image

Dr Kwame Emmanuel

Legal and Communications Expert

Denmark team

Maj Andersen profile image

Professor Maj Andersen


Ethiopia team

Belay Simane profile image

Professor Belay Simane

Project Partner

Abduljelil Ahmedin Rida profile image

Abduljelil Ahmedin Rida

Communications Expert

Yohannes Geleta Sida profile image

Yohannes Geleta Sida

Research Assistant

Kenya team

Francis Oremo profile image

Dr Francis Oremo

Network Manager

James Oranga profile image

Dr James Oranga

Project Partner

Salome Ondigo profile image

Salome Ondigo

Project Assistant

Miriam Bomett profile image

Miriam Bomett

Kenya Association of Manufacturers Representative

Irene Maithya profile image

Irene Maithya

Research Assistant

Hellen Adhiambo Omondi profile image

Hellen Adhiambo Omondi

Communications Expert

Malawi team

Thoko Kaime profile image

Professor Thoko Kaime

Project Partner

Isabelle Zundel profile image

Isabelle Zundel

Communications and Legal Expert

Tisungeni Tikhalenawo Kaime profile image

Tisungeni Tikhalenawo Kaime


Rwanda team

Aime Tsinda profile image

Dr Aime Tsinda

National Representative

Marie Rose Turamwishimye profile image

Dr Marie Rose Turamwishimye

Communications and Legal Expert

Sweden team

Carl Dalhammar profile image

Dr Carl Dalhammar

Project Partner

Leonidas Milios profile image

Dr Leonidas Milios


Tanzania team

Alex Kisingo profile image

Dr Alex Kisingo

Head of Research and Consultancy Department

Sia Jeremia Temu profile image

Sia Jeremia Temu

Research Assistant

Uganda team

Lynn Atuyambe profile image

Dr Lynn Atuyambe

Project Partner

Harriet Adong profile image

Harriet Adong

Communications Expert

Felix Walyawula profile image

Felix Walyawula

Legal Expert