For anyone in the UK, there is an excellent documentary at 8.30pm on BBC1
Liz Bonnin explores the huge problem of plastic waste choking the world’s rivers and oceans in a one-off special that is almost too distressing to watch. In the opening scenes, she joins rescue teams in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand as they help seabirds whose parents have unwittingly fed them plastic: the record is 260 pieces (often bits of bottle tops) in the stomach of a single shearwater chick. Bonnin also witnesses a mile-long raft of plastic waste on an Indonesian river and sees whales in New England caught in fishing gear.
There are more positive stories, too – including fascinating attempts to clean up our oceans using a sort of giant Pac-Man. But then she hits us with another dizzying statistic, such as the fact that every minute around the world we buy a million plastic bottles and two million plastic bags.
In the end, the picture is overwhelming, almost despair-inducing, but as Bonnin says at one point, almost weeping, “This is real. This is what’s going on.”
Well worth a watch
And a quick plea - if you have a Marks and Spencer Sparks card, do consider making your donation to the MCS (Marine Conservation Society)
It costs you nothing, but the charity will benefit every time you shop at M&S