Tuesday 17 September 2019

Sir David Attenborough urges cutback on plastics after filming Blue Planet II

The nature expert pleaded for humans to take better care of the environment.

Blue Planet II.
Blue Planet II.

By Francesca Gosling

Sir David Attenborough has urged the world to cut down on the use of plastics by “tomorrow” to curb increasing dangers to the ocean.

The much-loved TV nature expert told how his experience filming the second Blue Planet series showed him the threat that plastic causes to the underwater environment.

His comments came as he attended a Q&A about the show ahead of its broadcast on BBC One later this month, 15 years after the original series.


Asked what concerned him the most about the crew’s findings, the 91-year old said: “Two things. One of course is the rising temperature, and particularly in the last programme it is illustrated what happens if the temperature goes up by 1.5 degrees.

“The second thing is plastic. Plastic in the ocean. Now what we’re going to do about 1.5 degrees 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. And I just wish we would.

“There are so many sequences that every single one of us have been involved in, even in the most peripheral way, where we have seen tragedies happen because of the plastic in the ocean. We’ve seen albatross come back with their belly full of food for their young and nothing in it.

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“The albatross parent has been away for three weeks gathering stuff for her young and what comes out? What does she give her chick? You think it’s going to be squid, but it’s plastic. And the chick is going to starve and die.

“There are more examples of that. But we could do things about plastic internationally tomorrow.”

Explaining how he hoped the programme would encourage viewers to think about our impact on the environment, he continued: “We have a responsibility. Every one of us. 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.

“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 he realises that that is the case.”

Sir David, who presents Blue Planet II, appeared on the Q&A panel with composer Hans Zimmer, executive producer James Honeyborne, series producer Mark Brownlow and producer Orla Doherty ahead of the programme’s broadcast this month.

The programme is a a BBC Studios Natural History Unit production and filming took place all over the world, in locations such as South Africa, Egypt, Australia, Mexico, Japan and Norway. It will air on October 29.

PA Media

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