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BBC Launches ‘Plastics Watch’


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The BBC has announced the launch of Plastics Watch, looking at the changes happening across the UK and the wider world in tackling plastic pollution.

Six months on from the final episode of the groundbreaking BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit series Blue Planet II, which saw 62 percent of surveyed UK audiences say they wanted to make changes in their daily lives to reduce pollution of our oceans, the new multi-platform initiative launches today with a brand new online short presented by world-renowned naturalist and presenter of Blue Planet II, Sir David Attenborough.

Sir David Attenborough says: “We hoped that Blue Planet II would open people’s eyes to the damage that we are doing to our oceans and the creatures that live in them. I’ve been absolutely astonished at the result that that programme has had. I never imagined there would be quite so many of you who would be inspired to want change. The strength of your response has not gone unnoticed in the corridors of power, or in business boardrooms. The actions of any just one of us may seem to be trivial and to have no effect. But the knowledge that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who are doing the same thing – that really does have an effect – so please join us.”



Plastics Watch will showcase BBC content produced across TV, Radio, News, Online and Children’s; provide information and advice to positively enable the British public to help reduce plastic pollution; and publish digital content on the topic, exploring the statistics, science and real life changes individuals are making around their consumption of single-use plastics.

This comes on the back of the BBC’s own commitments to cut single use plastics which have already seen plastic cutlery and plastic take away food containers removed from BBC buildings, with plastic cups being replaced by the end of the year.

Tony Hall, BBC Director General, said: “Six months since the BBC’s Blue Planet II became part of the national conversation; we’ve seen an extraordinary public response to the environmental issues the programme raised, in particular plastic pollution. I want the BBC to lead by example with our commitment to banning single use plastics by 2020 – which I am pleased to say is progressing ahead of schedule. From today, Plastics Watch will reflect the changes happening around the UK and wider world, bringing together the bigger picture to inform, inspire and enable the public to make meaningful choices around their use of plastic.”

BBC One’s Blue Planet II, which reached a total of 37.6m in the UK (over 62 percent of the UK population) and was the most watched television programme of 2017, attracted global attention in highlighting the damaging impact single-use plastic is having on the world’s oceans and environment. Seventy eight percent of surveyed UK audiences said it made them care more about conservation, and the public was driven to act, with significant increases in internet searches such as ‘dangers of plastic in the ocean’ (100 percent increase post series launch) and ‘plastic recycling’ (55 percent increase post series finale). The societal impact of Blue Planet II has been wide reaching, with plastics becoming both a national and political talking point, after it was highlighted in the 2017 Budget speech and lead to change in government environmental policy.

A new online short presented by Sir David Attenborough looks at the role that Blue Planet II has played in inspiring audiences and pushing the topic of plastic waste right up the political agenda. Featuring audiences in the UK and in China who have been inspired to make changes in their lives to reduce their ‘plastic footprint’ after watching the series, David highlights the UK’s effort so far and calls for the public to join in.