Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Sir David Attenborough’s New Series to Show ‘Heartbreaking’ Examples of Plastic Pollution

Popular
www.youtube.com

By Imogen Calderwood

Sir David Attenborough has spoken out about "heartbreaking" examples of plastic pollution that were documented while filming for his new series, Blue Planet II.

Attenborough, the broadcasting legend who brought the world Planet Earth, revealed that teams had recorded seabirds feeding their chicks with scraps of plastic, in the documentary series that will focus on how our oceans are changing.

A serious change has been the dramatic rise in plastic pollution.


"Plastics are of crucial importance—it is heartbreaking," Attenborough said, speaking to Greenpeace before the launch of his BBC series Blue Planet II. "Which example do you choose as being most heartbreaking? I would choose, because I feel so strongly for them, a sequence with the albatross."

He continued: "There is a shot of the young being fed and what comes out of the beak of the adult? Not sand eels, not fish, and not squid, which is what they mostly eat, but plastic. It's heartbreaking. Heartbreaking."

Kris Krug / Flickr

Other footage showed gannets feeding plastic to their chicks off the coast of Scotland, and puffins with scraps of it in their beaks.

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the Global Goals, including goal No.14 for life below water. You can join us by taking action here.

Environmental group Greenpeace UK published the Attenborough interview to coincide with the launch of its investigative journalism project, Unearthed.

The project has documented plastic pollution in the feeding grounds of basking sharks, in the habitats of puffins, seals and whales, and in the nests and beaks of seabirds, in an expedition off the Scottish coast.

In some of Britain's most iconic seabird colonies, in areas such as the Bass Rock, Isle of May and the Shinto Isles, the group found plastic bottles, bags and packaging.

"David Attenborough's words will strike a chord with anyone who has ever witnessed the harm plastic pollution is causing to marine life, whether it's a turtle tangled up in plastic or a whale's stomach full of carrier bags," said Greenpeace oceans campaigner Louise Edge.

"With a truckload of plastic being dumped in our oceans every minute, this has now become a global environmental crisis stretching from the Arctic shores to remote islands in the South Pacific and Britain's own coastline," she said.

"Coming from one of the world's greatest living naturalists, Sir David's words should be a wake-up call for governments and corporations that we need real action now to stop plastic waste choking our seas," Edge added.

Attenborough's new Blue Planet II series is coming soon to BBC One 16 years on from the award-winning first Blue Planet series, and is the result of four years filming visiting every continent and ocean.

But the naturalist has also noted some positive changes.

"My hope is that the world is coming to its senses ... I'm so old I remember a time when ... we didn't talk about climate change, we talked about animals and species extermination," Attenborough told Greenpeace.

"For the first time I'm beginning to think there is actually a groundswell, there is a change in the public view," he said. "I feel many more people are concerned and more aware of what the problems are. Young people—people who've got 50 years of their life ahead of them—they are thinking they ought to be doing something about this—that's a huge change."

Attenborough added: "30 years ago people concerned with atmospheric pollution were voices crying in the wilderness. We aren't voices crying in the wilderness now."

Meanwhile, the UK government has this month set up an inquiry into disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles.

The UK throws away approximately 2.5 billion coffee cups every year, of which fewer than one in 400 are recycled, according to government figures. That's because there are only two sites in the UK that have the capacity to recycle the waterproof card used to make the cups. Just 57 percent of all plastic bottles used in the UK are recycled.

Possible ideas to encourage the recycling of bottles and coffee cups are to set up a deposit and refund scheme (DRS) or taxation.

Michael Gove, the secretary of state for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, has said a DRS would be a "great idea," but said that it's important to make sure it would work properly before guaranteeing its implementation.

Other countries such as Germany, Norway and Sweden already have a DRS in place. The German deposit scheme cost around three times as much per container as household-based collection systems in 2015, but the country recycled more than 90 percent of its PET bottles in that year, according to a parliament press release.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Global Citizen.

A "trash tsunami" has washed ashore on the beaches of Honduras, endangering both wildlife and the local economy.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Long-finned pilot whales are seen during a 1998 stranding in Marion Bay in Tasmania, Australia. Auscape / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

More long-finned pilot whales were found stranded today on beaches in Tasmania, Australia. About 500 whales have become stranded, including at least 380 that have died, the AP reported. It is the largest mass stranding in Australia's recorded history.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A protest in solidarity with the Wetʼsuwetʼen's anti-pipeline struggle, at Canada House in Trafalgar Square on March 1, 2020 in London, England. More than 200 environmental groups had their Facebook accounts suspended days before an online solidarity protest. Ollie Millington / Getty Images

Facebook suspended more than 200 accounts belonging to environmental and Indigenous groups Saturday, casting doubt on the company's stated commitments to addressing the climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
The Västra Hamnen neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden, runs on renewable energy. Tomas Ottosson / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 3.0

By Harry Kretchmer

By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.

Read More Show Less
An Extinction Rebellion protester outside the Bank of England on Oct. 14, 2019 in London, England. John Keeble / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

In another win for climate campaigners, leaders of 12 major cities around the world — collectively home to about 36 million people — committed Tuesday to divesting from fossil fuel companies and investing in a green, just recovery from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch