The policy implications of framing marine litter in the Netherlands

  • Judith Floor (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesTalk or presentation (not at a conference)Academic


At the moment the problem of plastic litter in rivers, coastal areas and oceans is increasingly getting political attention. On the level of the UN, Europe, national and local the perception that action is required to reduce marine litter is gaining momentum. At the same time, scientists express knowledge uncertainties on the exact amounts and effects of plastic in the environment. In this study, the impact of storylines and uncertainty perceptions on policy decisions and research regarding marine litter within the Netherlands are investigated. We see a shift in the last 10 years from no specific policy for plastic towards an urgency to address the issue in policies. This shift takes place in connection to the European and global attention for the impacts of plastic litter. The Clean Meuse project is used as an example to illustrate the changes in research and policy-making efforts. We analyse the framing of natural scientists, civil society actors and policy makers on the problem, proposed actions and responsibilities for the marine litter issue. By examining the use of metaphors and storylines by different actors, we identify where perceptions on marine litter converge and diverge. Two basic storylines – clean up and prevention – underline most reactions on marine litter. However, the analysis of the Dutch case, shows perceptions are much more diverse. These perceptions are connected to expectations of research and to values of coastal and river areas, ranging from pristine nature to economic.
Period25 Jun 2019
Event title2019 People & the Sea X: learning from the past, imagining the future
Event typeConference
Conference number10
LocationAmsterdam, NetherlandsShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • marine litter, plastic, framing, knowledge uncertainties, policy-making, river Meuse