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The impact of BBC Blue Planet II on awareness of and attitude to plastic pollution

Mirzakhani, Zahra


Zahra Mirzakhani



This research study addresses the issue of environmental pollution caused by plastic waste, which has had extensive negative impact on the ecological systems and human life worldwide. Recent studies have found microplastics in every single aquatic species in the UK, reflecting the extent of harm caused to the biological species, natural environment and human health.
Conservationists should promote pro-environmental behaviour, such as reducing plastic pollution by reducing plastic consumption and disposal. Hence, across the globe, governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and the media have been active in preventing and mitigating the impact of plastic pollution.
Mass media, including the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), have been playing a major role in informing the public and creating awareness. In 2017, the BBC Natural History Unit broadcast the BBC Blue Planet II Series, which had involved 39 countries and 125 marine expeditions. The Series, in part, explores the impact of plastic pollution on marine life.
According to some experts, the BBC natural history documentary, Blue Planet II, was watched by millions across the globe, leading to changes in public attitude & awareness of plastic pollution. This dissertation assesses the impact of the BBC Blue Planet II series on public awareness of plastic pollution in the UK, US, Canada and Australia, and contains a comprehensive review of the open literature.
The impact of Blue Planet II on plastic pollution was assessed via analysis of search volumes using Google Trends. Whilst attitudes to plastic pollutions was investigated via textual analysis of online comments within plastics related articles in the to The Guardian and The Times online newspaper.
The quantitative and qualitative data are presented in graphical forms in this research study, and show that an increase in public awareness of plastic pollution did corelate with airing of the BBC Blue Planet II series. However, using the mentioned methods the research we were not able to find evidence for a causal link between the BBC Blue Planet II series and an increase in public awareness of plastic pollution.


Mirzakhani, Z. (2022). The impact of BBC Blue Planet II on awareness of and attitude to plastic pollution. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 29, 2023
Keywords Biological sciences
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Biological Sciences, The University of Hull
Award Date 2022-01


Thesis (1.6 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2022 Zahra Mirzakhani. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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