Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Dr. Mark A. Boyer, Dr. Matthew M. Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


Environmental Studies | Political Science


There is a new continent growing in the North Pacific Ocean known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The Patch is composed of a vast array of marine pollution, discarded single-use items, and mostly microplastics. This thesis explores how and why governments and other entities do or do not deal with the growing problem of ocean pollution. Sovereignty roadblocks and balance of power prove to be obstacles for such efforts. This thesis then attempts to create the ideal model of governance for ocean plastics using the policy-making process. The policy analysis reviews bilateral, multilateral, and non-governmental solutions for the removal of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and subsequent maintenance efforts. Following the analysis of these three policies, this thesis concludes that a combination of factors from each solution is likely the best course of action.