Sir David Attenborough Highlights Ocean Plastic Waste Problem
BBC TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough used the series finale of his Blue Planet II series to highlight the problems faced by wildlife by discarded plastics in the world’s oceans.
The programme focussed on the plight of the Wandering Albatross and how populations are declining at its South Georgia nesting sites. Images of a dead chick, killed by eating a plastic toothpick, shocked viewers, while a scientist displayed bags of plastic waste regurgitated by other chicks.
In a column in the Radio Times, Sir David highlighted the threats marine life is facing, from climate change and overfishing to the estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic that finds its way into the oceans each year.
He wrote that “never before have we been so aware of what we are doing to our planet – and never before have we had such power to do something about it.
“Plastic is now found everywhere in the ocean, from its surface to its greatest depths. There are fragments of nets so big they entangle the heads of fish, birds and turtles, and slowly strangle them. Other pieces of plastic are so small that they are mistaken for food and eaten, accumulating in fishes’ stomachs, leaving them undernourished.”
It is thought more than 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals and turtles die each year from either eating or getting entangled in plastic waste.
Solutions to the problem of plastic pollution both on land and at sea are being sought. Recycling in a circular lifecycle is top of the list, and a new generation of plastic polymers developed by such companies as Aquapak Polymers promise to pay an important role.
The company has formulated a plastic polymer that overcomes the disadvantages of competing biodegradable plastics.
Not only is it strong, but film produced from the polymer is also temperature controlled water soluble. This make it relatively easy to recycle even when contaminated. Plastic bags made with the polymer dissolve completely in seawater, so helping avoid harm to sea creatures.
It is one solution that can make a real difference to the environment, one that OPEN Cleantech is pleased to support. As Sir David said: “Surely we have a responsibility to care for the planet on which we live?”