International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Practitioner Report

Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Development and Social Change (IDSC)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Professor Tim Downs

Second Reader

Professor Dave Bell


This practitioner research focuses on the stakeholder perspectives and lessons learned about mitigating plastic pollution in the marine environment of Aquidneck Island, Rhode Island. It uses a mixed method approach of surveys, interviews, focus groups, and active participation in mitigation strategies to answer four main research questions. These questions aim to gather perspectives on the problem from multiple stakeholders in the community, including the general public, the restaurant industry, and local and state governments. This research also investigates what factors make this community a leader in igniting social change and reducing plastic pollution. The active involvement of the researcher via internship allowed her to gain familiarity with the mitigation strategies present on Aquidneck Island. These research questions culminated in discovering what combination of community factors and mitigation strategies allow the opportunity for success in other coastal communities. Most notably, there is a strong sense of community on Aquidneck Island. Its members are increasingly aware and involved in solving the problem. There are individuals, community groups, businesses, and non-profit organizations who participate in meaningful discussions on the issue. The research concludes that these conversations and actions have positioned Aquidneck Island to be a model for other coastal areas facing similar problems.



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