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A creeping crisis when an urgent crisis arises: the reprioritization of plastic pollution issues during COVID-19


Vince, J, A creeping crisis when an urgent crisis arises: the reprioritization of plastic pollution issues during COVID-19, Politics & Policy pp. 1-15. ISSN 1555-5623 (2022) [Refereed Article]

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2022 The Author. Politics & Policy published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Policy Studies Organization. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1111/polp.12512


Single-use plastics (SUPs) are increasingly polluting terrestrial, coastal, and marine habits, contributing to the creeping "plastic crisis." The COVID-19 pandemic provided a window of opportunity for decision makers to change the degree of urgency and responsiveness to this crisis and for policy entrepreneurs and industry who are against reducing plastic consumption to influence decision makers to change their position on various plastic-related issues. Hygiene/health concerns have been used as a justification by governments and industry to increase the use of SUPs resulting in a reversal in, or a reprioritization of, policy decisions. Through the Multiple Streams Framework (MSF), I examine how creeping crises become secondary to urgent crises through agenda setting that is influenced and leveraged by policy entrepreneurs. I explore examples of such plastic policy decisions finding that they have been politically driven and influenced by entrepreneurs and industry rather than being primarily based on health concerns.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:agenda setting, COVID-19, creeping crises, crisis and risk, entrepreneurs, environmental policy, environmental regulation, health, MSF, multiplestreams framework, pandemic, plastic pollution, policy reprioritization
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Policy and administration
Research Field:Environment policy
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Environmental policy, legislation and standards
Objective Field:Institutional arrangements
UTAS Author:Vince, J (Associate Professor Joanna Vince)
ID Code:154347
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2022-11-24
Last Modified:2022-12-23
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

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