Attenborough urges global action to reduce plastic in oceans


plastiNaturalist Sir David Attenborough has called for global action to reduce the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans, after seeing the damage first hand while filming a new documentary series.

The 91-year-old broadcaster made the comments at the launch of a new TV series Blue Planet II in London, which premieres later this month.

Sir David said rising sea temperatures and plastic were what concerned him most after working on the series.

“What we’re going to do about 1.5 degrees [Celsius] rise in the temperature of the ocean over the next 10 years, I don’t know, but we could actually do something about plastic right now,” he said.

Up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste is washed into the ocean each year, according to the research published in the journal Science in 2015.

Sir David said “every single one of us” has a responsibility to reduce plastic ending up in the ocean.

“We have seen tragedies happen because of the plastic in the ocean,” he said.

“We’ve seen albatrosses come back with their belly full of food for their young and nothing in it. The albatross parent has been away for three weeks gathering stuff for her young and what comes out?

According to UNESCO, plastic debris kills more than 1 million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.

“It is one world. And it’s in our care. For the first time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope [humanity] realises that that is the case,” Sir David said.

“We may think we live a long way from the oceans, but we don’t.

“What we actually do here, and in the middle of Asia and wherever, has a direct effect on the oceans — and what the oceans do then reflects back on us.”