Chris Packham, presenter of BBC’s ‘Autumnwatch’ and ‘Springwatch’, has urged the UK government to get behind a solution to the world’s plastic waste problem.
Unlike regular plastic that fragments and lies around for decades, the OBP – called d2w - eventually biodegrades in the open environment in the same way as a leaf.
Speaking at an event in London to raise awareness on Symphony's efforts to tackle the rise of plastic waste on Monday, Packham said d2w presents an opportunity to help solve the issue and should not be ignored by the government.
The environmentalist explained the day he first realised the impact plastic waste was having on the oceans and its species – 25 years ago a Leatherback sea turtle had died and washed up on the south coast of Wales.
An autopsy revealed that the turtle’s stomach was so full of plastic that it had starved to death. Turtles often mistake plastic for jellyfish, which is part of their diet.
The UK government announced over the weekend that it has earmarked £61.4mln to fight rising plastic pollution and called on the 52 leaders of Commonwealth countries to assist in research and improving their waste management.
But Packham criticised the government for not doing enough and for setting targets that he may not live to see reached.
“They are passing on the buck to the next government,” he said, adding that Symphony has a “unique” type product that is part of a “portfolio of solutions” to help improve the environment by reducing, reusing, redesigning and recycling plastic.
Packham acknowledged that the world has become to rely on plastic so getting rid of it all together was not a feasible option.
And for those less concerned about the impact of plastic on the animals that mistakenly consume it, Packham pointed out that humans are now eating it too.
When plastic breaks down into microplastics in the ocean, fish consume it and consequently so do we.
“If you can’t look after the broader environment, you can’t look after yourself,” Packham said.