Prince Charles has asked the world to help tackle the “escalating ecological and human disaster” of the pollution of seas with plastic. He spoke about the increasing damage to the sea as he launched a competition, alongside Dame Ellen MacArthuer, to try and find a fix to the problem.
The competition launched was to encourage scientists, entrepreneurs, retailers and other figures to take up the challenge of designing packaging that manages to use less plastic and is recyclable.
Speaking at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, the Prince’s International Sustainability Unit and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation launched a new prize which offers grants of up to £1.5 million to winners of the challenge.
Entrants to the competition are not only competing for the potential to win large grants but also access to a 12-month programme which will offer access to industry experts as well as commercial guidance and labs for research and development.
Prince Charles warned about the dangers fo the “alarming flood” of plastic pollution and the effects it is having on human health, the food chain, and biodiversity.
Prince Charles said: “As scientific consensus deepens on the impact of plastic waste on biodiversity, on the food chain and, dare I say it, on human health, it becomes ever more urgent that we find ways to deal with this escalating ecological and human disaster.”
He added: “With plastic being so cheap and easy to produce, it is little wonder that vast quantities flood our economy each year.
“It is equally no great surprise that so much of our plastic waste is ending up in the environment.
“Once they are in the environment that is where they stay, accumulating at an astonishing rate.
“This strikes me as a tragedy for two reasons. Firstly, because the loss of non-renewable resources from the system makes absolutely no economic sense; and secondly, because of the huge damage plastic pollution does to the environment, particularly the marine environment.”
Prince Charles is a passionate environmentalist and has often spoken on climate change, the need for sustainability, deforestation and the pollution of the world’s oceans.
Prince Charles said that the world needs to look to the natural world for a solution to the “take-make-and-waste” economy that today’s society promotes.
With only 14% of plastic being recycled, it is easy to understand where Prince Charle’s outlook on the “take-make-and-waste” society comes from. The majority of plastic packaging, from coffee cups to wrappers, is used only once. It is thought that there could be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.