Plastic pollution: ‘We’ve lost the battle on the beaches’

I found this on the
beach the other week. So that’s an insulin jab,
insulin jab, God know what that is. I’m stopping beach
cleaning today. This is my last
beach clean ever. How come? Because I’ve spent
four years losing. Let’s have a look. A wet wipe,
a nightmare. I only started
cleaning beaches in 2014. There was five trillion
pieces of plastic in the ocean. As I finish beach cleaning
in 2019, them numbers have increased
to 15 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. We are trying to mop up
a flood and the tap’s still running. And your instincts there wouldn’t be
to just get the mop out, it would be to turn the tap off. If I just pointed out stuff
that come from the beach … Toy soldiers are always
valued by beach cleaners. A Lego brick. This one is full of plastic bottles. I would imagine. Mainly single-use
plastic bottles. And my kids’ swing
which is a huge buoy. And this was collected in
an hour and a half on North Beach, Aberystwyth. There’s 1,731
cigarette butts in there. This is another sort of reason
for me stopping as well, is I’ve spent far too many weekends
away from my kids. And my three … you know,
walking through Aberystwyth, they … They are not the only kids
in the world to do it but they will just stop and pick up
a plastic bottle out of the gutter and take it to a bin. You do that, don’t you Cal? Would you buy one? With me? Do you buy
when you’re not with me? When you’re with who? All right, are we ready? Come on, then. We are off to
Aberystwyth University, so when we get there,
there will be maybe 30-40 teenagers from Shrewsbury. And we’ll be doing
an urban litter pick and then a beach clean. To be honest it feels a little
bit like a relief to finish losing
actually feels quite nice, and to not let it all go because
it’s not a case of letting it all go, it’s a case of finding
real environmental actions that actually make an impact. Hello. Hello. You all right? It’s not that it’s not worth it,
it’s not that it’s not noble … You all right?
Come in, come in. You guys might not know this
but you are generation plastic. Can you hold up
your bottle, please? So this, guys, Coca-Cola make 110 billion
plastic bottles every year. They take no responsibility for that. In scale, charities are already … They are not on the back foot,
they are not even in the ring, to be honest with you, you know. WWF, you know, you want
to sponsor a panda everything is going
extinct. Surfers Against Sewage
plastic-free communities … It’s just more plastic
being made than ever. But they are up against
the impossible task that’s my point and isn’t it time
that the third sector sort of sat back
and asked themselves some really hard questions
about, are we successful? There you go.
There’s your plastic-free Aberystwyth. She has a plastic cup,
with a plastic lid and a plastic straw. Underneath the flag. No, it means,
to the people that are involved and the people that
support it, it means a lot. Because it means that they
are doing their best. But when you’re talking about
1% of the population and the other 99% are
carrying on, like, nothing has happened. Do you know what that is? Yes, it’s a tampon
applicator. It actually is, yeah. Picking it up isn’t
really the answer this is to show you guys
the problem. What the answer
to that problem is, is the end of producing plastic which is ultimately a fossil fuel. if you want to do something
which is super, super positive, plant a tree. For the environment that
would be my number one thing to do. Outside of going into a shop
and opening every single Coca-Cola
bottle in there and not buying any of them. I would love to go back
to beach cleaning in five years time, knowing that the action
that I’m taking, the energy I’m putting into it, and everybody else
that comes out and volunteers, is cleaning the sea. But plastic production
and the lack of recycling is so broken that it’s like trying to stop
a tsunami with your hand up. It’s just not going to happen.

92 thoughts on “Plastic pollution: ‘We’ve lost the battle on the beaches’

  1. Its too late to fix the damage Im keep my plastics and disposing in the ocean per Trump direct instructions!

  2. The problem is no one goes to the beach anymore and when they go. Look at the ground. We opened our borders now what should we expect except more crime, more drugs, more human trafficking, more ignorance in the environment. Get the Environmental law on your side.

  3. You send it to the recyle plant and it ends up right back on the beach. Best way to get rid of plastic is to not make it for mass consumption. Recycling plastic is by way of plates, utensils or goods that can be washed and reused. They idea is good but it is over used and deposited in the water. Better to burn it down and make reusable goods, toys etc. Your giving up is important to the message that disposable plastics are a problem.. Yet what do they do attack straws not the cover or the lid. It makes no sense.

  4. It's so sad that someone as motivated and caring as this is giving up because he just can't make a dent. He's right though. We need to fix the CAUSE and stop the thoughtless productions and use of plastics. When you actually make a point to observe how much plastic you use day to day, it's mind-blowing. It's not just the obvious stuff like bottles but even everyday stuff like bread, rice, cheese all come wrapped in single-use plastic.

  5. Well he is not really giving up tho – he is looking for a solution that works

  6. Why not go back to glass bottles, easy to clean and reuse. It's what we did for decades, also for the love of God why do people buy bottled water?

  7. We as individuals can only do so much to help the environment. We're fighting a losing battle because big corporations and governments aren't playing by the same rules as the everyday citizen. Until China and the US take action the environment is screwed.

  8. A plastic that is biodegradable by a bacteria that lives in the sea.
    Or a plastic that 100% recyclable with degradation of quality so it pays of to recycle it.
    All other plastics for consumers should be banned.

    Solar powered cheap mass produced floating drones to clean the surface of the oceans.

  9. 'Like mopping up a flood': throwing in the towel over beach plastic pollution ►

  10. i think a big problem with the issue of plastic pollution is that it distracts the environmental focus away from more important things like climate change and carbon emissions. plastic pollution is a big problem and ideally, i'd have no plastic in the ocean. but we don't live in an ideal world, and every second focused on plastic is a second not focused on more important things like climate change that will ruin our entire world. that's not to say that you shouldn't pick up litter or that you shouldn't bother with not littering or decreasing your plastic usage, but when we spend all of our time focused on plastic, we don't focus on the bigger issues like climate change.

  11. That's the point Roger Hallam of Extinction Rebellion makes. Advocating, protesting or picking up trash just doesn't work (at least not fast enough). The only proven way to bring on structural social change quickly is (non violent) civil disobedience. The idea of going to the grocery store and opening up every plastic bottle without buying would actually be quite effective if enough people do it for long enough. But most of us, me included are just not brave enough to do something like this.

  12. It is sad that Alan Cookson quit but I understand why he has quit the beach cleaning. The answer I think is for people to stop buying plastics and to have those same people not to litter and to pick up after themselves.

  13. Recycling is the last resort, we need to stop production by cutting back and using reusable things. Like bring your own mug to starbucks and find alternatives to single use bottles and items.

  14. The first step to take is to stop more plastic bottle production. Then clean up the mess that is left.

  15. The solution is system change not individual action. The 99% will not act. The world runs on law. The problem is who is making the law. It should be us not politicians.

  16. In the UK coca cola are doing a returnable bottle but what about the rest of the world! What about the disposable nappy companies recycling the nappies they sell, or the plastic bottles that are use for shampoo/conditioner or all cleaning products…the list is endless! Human beings are disgusting, as he said most don't care about the environment, its shameful!

  17. The garbage dumps in the ocean do eventually decompose into what’s called micro plastics. Flesh of sea life now has plastic, I’ve heard it has become airborne and we are breathing that stuff. This is the biggest disaster humanity has created on the planet so far.

  18. One thing people lazy these days they will just chuck the rubbish anywhere.
    And I've noticed over the years that there's less bins then there used to be why! maybe cutbacks in councils, but more bins should be introduced specially on beaches.
    Plastic bags have to be banned if they clear or white and ideally made a fluorescent colour like pink green yellow stand out more plus clear white bags is hazardous to marine life because I think they are jellyfish. It is harmful for dolphins whales Turtles and more

  19. Thank you for posting,
    Is recycling working at all?
    My husband and I recycle all we can.♻️♻️
    But we live nowhere near the ocean. 😕
    We also have to drive to a recycling place, because where we live, they charge money to have someone pick it up.
    Flat Rock,
    Michigan USA
    I used to reside in Groton, Connecticut as a Navy wife, Year: 1994
    Out there 3 different types of recycling at no cost.
    Picked up on certain days.
    One for paper,
    One for plastic,
    One for tin.
    (The last two must be washed thorough in order to be recycled).
    One regular one for everyday garbage that can't be recycled.
    In Gales Ferry, Connecticut, there is a factory that takes garbage and turns it into steam.
    This doesn't occur at all in Michigan.😞
    No idea why.
    Landfills keep piling up and we have the Paramount mountain landfills from the movie titles now.
    This destroys drinking water from the ground.
    Bottled water and water bills are roughly the same cost.
    5 Lakes and Landfills.
    "Pure Michigan"
    Thanks for reading.
    Peace ✌

  20. I have a simple solution for consumer plastics that appear to be the vast part of the plastic problem. We should select a type of plastic that will work for all consumer applications. This plastic must be easy to recycle. This will be a more expensive plastic that will be overkill for many applications. Some applications that are very price sensitive will either go away or find an acceptable solution. We will now have a plastic that is as easy to recycle as an aluminum can. People will now pickup the plastic for the pocket change, just like aluminum cans. Yes, Yes, Yes it will not make everyone happy, but this frequently happens with solutions.

  21. add an extra cost to plastic that you would get back if returned to the right place.

  22. Here in Sweden we have a recycling system called "pant". You pay one or two Swedish kr and when you go back at the store you get this kr back. That has reduced our garbage of cans and bottles to nearly zero.

  23. 👀shouldn't every food item in a grocery store come in some type of mason jar?
    👀instead of cleaning a beach, try picketing plastic manufacturers/packagers to redirect their industry to glass and metal.

  24. Forget Holocene, this will be know as the "Plasticene" era by future generations. You know what they'll say. They'll sadly laugh, to think that we even wrapped our dog excrement in plastic….

  25. If you look at the poor countries in the world whose idea of garbage cleaning is just to dump everything into the ocean it's pretty much a hopeless mission until some proper infectious disease will wipe out a big chunk of humanity.

  26. Westerners have been dumping rubbish in third world countries for years, and hardly any of us cared because it didn't directly effect us or are descendents. However now that's it's becoming a major issue and starting to impact us directly, people, companies and organisations are using the panic to cash in, offset their rampant motor vehicle use, and other environmental damaging things they do on the regular. Here's what you should care about. 80% of plastic in are oceans is created by vehicle tyres!! Plastic bottles/containers actually make up a tiny fraction of the plastic in are oceans, it's just what's visible to us. It's micro plastics which are the most damaging to wildlife and animals.

  27. They don't have bottle deposits in Great Britain? That's something they should definitely should do.

  28. Elephants in the room….
    1. There are too many people
    2. Everyone is addicted to the accumulation of 'stuff', mostly cheap plastic tat
    3. We like convenience.
    Instantly. We expect strawberries in December.
    4. No-one is prepared to pay more for environmentally friendly packaging and loose items, only rich people can afford to be economic warriors.
    5. Globalisation is a primary cause. But the powers that be won't allow that to be seen as a problem…

  29. There is only one solution to this problem and that is TIME.. We will just wait for the time that there is already too much plastics in the world that it will start to suffocate us and kills us. Then humans will realize the depth pf this problem and unite to only only goal stop plastic production..

    That’s the problem when we let businessmen and corporations run the world instead of scientist and engineers!

  30. Why do people blame the plastic or the ones that create it and say nothing about the people that don't dispose of it properly which are really to blame. I know… cause that doesn't fit their true motivations which are feeling a
    self righteous, virtue signaling, and corporations are evil all while accomplishing so little or in alot of cases make things worse. The problem is people not disposing of their waste properly. To really make a difference , find a better solution then plastic or better ways to dispose of it, inform the masses of the facts (do not lie, embellish or scaremonger), create incentives and let nature take its course. If people still don't listen then oh well. As far as I know plastic itself is just ugly. I'm not aware of actual wide scale harm it causes to animals or the environment.

  31. Just talking about it wont fix this. If the grand polliticians won't see this as profitable,they wont stop. They wont stop setting fires for land grabbing either. In a few decades,we won't be able to live here anymore,so just enjoy whats left,while you can,and please,don't bring your children into this world,and what's to come.

  32. Too many people overgrazing the planet for profit…. drastically culling the herd might be the planet's best solution, starting with polluters. A good Hanta Virus with genetic variations would solve much of the demands on the rain forest (the planet's lungs) and ensure survivors can breathe. Depopulating a few continents or subcontinents might seem radical, but might be prescient in another century when biological diversity needed to save the planet is long extinct. It's a delusion to think nature can be enslaved to the will of humans. A few battles won is trivial in geologic time. This common lie will only convince the foolhardy that humans are winning a war they are about to lose.

  33. The fight against plastic pollution is always being fought by the consumers and not the producers. This model is unsustainable and will never be successful. Plastic manufacturers and companies that use the plastic products they make to package their products must be forced through financial penalties to finance the clean up and be incentivised to find alternate packaging solutions which do not pollute the environment.

    Plastic recycling is failing in many countries as it has resulted in the relocation of the collected plastic from wealthy countries to poor countries rather than recycling methods being developed in the countries where the plastic waste is being generated. The cost both financially and in other forms of pollution to transport this waste from one country to another nullifies the intent of the recycling process in the first place, trading one form of pollution for another.

    The developed world needs to stop and rethink the whole structure of the manufacturing and distribution process to take the responsibility for sustainability away from consumers and place it on manufacturers and producers

  34. Use Terracycle to make plastic into cool stuff you can reuse remember its not recycling unless its terracycled

  35. For a start the world needs population controls, people are knocking kids out like no one's business. Stop paying people to have kids and start paying people who don't

  36. Coca-cola, PLEASE create a world-wide deposit return for all plastic bottles that you produce. It's not the total answer, to be sure, but you're a huge company with lots of brand names under your banner…. it's a start.

  37. A virus that would kill most of mankind would reduce environmental problems. Other than that greed always wins.

  38. Its so sad ppl didnt think of what will happen to the world when they created plastic. I mean yeah it made life easier but at what cost??! My grandmas village in her country barely use plastic bc not many products can get there.. but they live such a clean simple life. Can we ever go back? For the sake of out planet and future generations?

  39. Good bloke! This has inspired me to stop buying single-use plastic and start litter picking. Also aiming to plant some trees next year. At least I can say I tried…

  40. In Australia a couple of years back, Coca Cola took the Northern Territory government to court to stop the introduction of a bottle deposit scheme. Coca Cola won.

  41. What about this quote of Coca Cola in the end? This is lie.. unlike glass, plastic CANNOT be recycled over and over again. Why not saying this??

  42. Totally understand Alan Cookson's feelings in this. I'm part of a beach litter picking group in New Brighton, Wirral called The New Brighteners (we're on Facebook). We feel much the same about what we do. We are having a minimal impact on changing peoples' behaviour regarding dropping rubbish on the beaches. We're, perhaps, stopping 0.000,000,000,001% of plastic entering the oceans, but we keep the beaches clean. We're not solving any problems at all though, and often it is overwhelming.

  43. as long as richer people can buy a 1st class seat, i wont lift a finger nor accept climate change is real. this plastic wont stop until rich men actually stop making it.

  44. How do we want to live? Obviously like this! At least that's what the companies and governments tell us.

  45. Humans are cancer to all life on this planet. Sadly I think we are now playing the end game.

  46. Tax plastic production. Use the money to hire the unemployed to clean up the mess. Give a 10 cent reward for each Coke bottle returned.

  47. Voting is the solution. Vote for people who believe in climate change and other ways we impact the Earth instead of not voting and complaining online about the way things are getting worse. Individual rebelion is stupid and useless.

  48. I feel so bad for him,
    I've been trying to turn the tap off since before you started cleaning up the mess 🙁
    keep going brother, don't give up,
    Hasta La Victoria Siempre!

  49. If the young want to change the world – stop buying a new iphone every year, etc….Stop buying Pepsi. Coke and all the other big branded stuff.

  50. Chapelle >The Gaurdian

    I'm going to dump water and throw the bottles in the trash. Just like The Guardian. Trash…..

  51. Sometimes I'm just happy I'm gonna be dead in a few decades (at best) and that I don't leave any children behind. I only feel sorry for the animals, and for this miraculous paradise, we've managed to destroy.

  52. now they're sending these trash to indonesia, malaysia, philippines and other 3rd world countries! shame on u western people! 😢😢

  53. It has to be stopped from the source, the whole industry is slack on the plastic issue. Go back to glass bottles, cans& milk Carton type packaging.

  54. All green do gooders prattle on about a climate change that's occurring naturally when we should be banning the making of plastics the can't be recycled and banning western countries from exporting to third world countries who don't recycle but dump it. That's the crime.

  55. Not really happy thoughts of somewhere relaxing. Just when you thought you could get a break. The writing is on the wall.

  56. I hope this is not a stupid question I know I need to do some research. This is horrible, is all that plastic coming from cruise ships. Where is it all coming from. I have never let plastic in my house,Even in the 70s when Tupperware was really bag I hated it. I’m going to start looking into this thank you for posting this.

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