– David Attenborough
It’s hard not to be moved by the latest imagery in the latest extraordinary series of Blue Planet II:
The turtle struggling in vain as it drags a plastic net through the water.
The baby albatross’ parent fatally mistaking pieces of plastic for food.
And the unbearably sad images of a baby whale, poisoned by plastic pollution consumed through its mother’s milk, and its grieving mother carrying her dead baby for days before letting it go.
But these are just three stories out of millions which are happening right now. The Blue Planet team collected every piece of plastic they came across while filming, but 8 million metric tons of plastic waste is being dumped into the oceans year after year – a figure equivalent to 634,000 London buses.
Thankfully, Blue Planet seems to be that rare TV phenomenon which manages to cut through the fog of apathy and move people into action. The world over, people are engaging with and responding to the issues raised in the programme, but there’s so much more we as individuals can do to help.
What can you do right now?
1. MAKE SIMPLE SWAPS
Always have a reusable cup with you. I use a Klean Kanteen cup. It’s perfect both for coffee and for water and the wide opening makes cleaning a doddle.
Always remember to bring a reusable bag when you shop and look for produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic. I use a string bag as it crunches up small but holds a lot of shopping.
Avoid plastic furniture and other products. Go for wood, glass, metal and natural materials wherever possible, and make sure whatever plastic products you have are recycled responsibly.
2. CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE
Supermarkets love their plastic. While you’re here, sign this petition to get them to cut back.
And put pressure on our leaders to protect the 4 million square meters of ocean all around the world. #backthebluebelt
3. SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
Large pieces of plastic can trap, strangle, choke and poison some of our favourite animals, such as dolphins and otters. However, we also need action toward the microplastics poisoning sea life and making their way into our own diet.
Buy nothing with microbeads. These have now been banned in the UK; however, they are widely sold elsewhere, and you may still have them on your shelves.
Wash any synthetic clothing in this special bag which will stop tiny plastic fibres from reaching the sea.
4. DONATE TO THE OCEAN CLEAN-UP
The Ocean Clean-up is a wondrous organisation working to clear the ocean of its plastic and has invented the tools to do so. Their story is amazing too, so do check them out and help if you can.