Speaking at a meeting of the International Sustainability Unit – which he established in 2010 – this week Prince Charles delivered a powerful speech warning about the ‘nightmare’ of plastic which currently pollutes the world’s oceans and is set to get even worse.
Prince Charles voiced his “deep frustration” at the fact that the problem is largely being ignored by global populations and encouraged the environmentalists, business leaders and other delegates present to push change and development by making changes within their own companies and industries to cut their plastic waste.
He said: “The nightmare result of eight million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year is set to get worse rather than better…We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue… I do fervently pray that you will all do your utmost to work together in the coming year to make real, substantial progress. It could not be more critical that you succeed.”
Continuing, he added: “Over the last few years, the awareness and science about the negative impacts of plastic waste in our ocean have grown significantly.”
“Many of you, I know, shared my deep frustration that the world was seemingly just turning a blind eye to this mounting evidence.
“Thankfully, the level of concern has now changed, not least because of your efforts.
“Even though the challenge at hand is extremely grave and unbelievably urgent, I for one at least find some encouragement from the fact that the legacy of plastic in the environment is now very much on the global agenda and in the public consciousness.”
Long known for his environmental activism, the heir to the British throne’s International Sustainability Unit aims to tackle issues like climate change and deforestation in addition to marine health. At this week’s meeting Prince Charles praised the benefits of collaborative and integrated efforts to solve the problem of plastic waste.
“In a culture where the forces of competition so often swamp the imperative of co-operation, breaking out of the silos that slow down progress is even more of an achievement.”
More than 300 million tonnes of plastic are produced every year and it’s thought that eight million more of those tonnes end up in the sea. If nothing is done to address the plastic issue its possible that plastic in the ocean will outweigh fish by the year 2050.