Naturalist Attenborough makes dire warning of plastic pollution in world’s oceans

Key Points
  • 91-year-old makes warning after filming "Blue Planet II"
  • Up to 13 million metric tons of plastic trash estimated to drift into sea each year
Fishermen prepare to fish, amidst floating garbage off the shore of Manila Bay during World Oceans Day in Paranaque, Metro Manila.
Erik De Castro | Reuters

U.K. naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough has warned of the dangers of plastic in the oceans after witnessing the damage it causes while filming a new wildlife series.

Attenborough said that during the recording of the BBC's TV series "Blue Planet II" he saw countless examples of the negative effect of plastics, according to comments in the Guardian newspaper on Sunday.

"We've seen albatrosses come back with their belly full of food for their young and nothing in it. 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. The chick is going to starve and die," said Attenborough.

Somewhere between roughly 5 million and 13 million metric tons of plastic trash are drifting into the sea annually, researchers said in a study published in 2015.

The 91-year-old, who is well-known in the U.K. for his work on television documenting the natural world, added that civilization was at a crossroads and more action was needed on plastics.

"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 realizes that that is the case."

"Blue Planet II" is a BBC natural history TV series which focuses on the world's oceans and the biological life that belongs to them. The original series aired in 2001.

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