A Plastic Ocean (2016) Movie Script

I remember the first time
I saw a picture of a blue whale,
which was
in a National Geographic magazine.
A drawing of the whale, and then
a tiny human standing beside it.
This thing was bigger than any dinosaur.
And as an eight-year-old,
I couldn't imagine that
there was anything that big.
I've followed them since childhood
with the absolute design
to go and film them myself
at some point.
And that was 40 years later.
Never had a slate before...
Dr. Lindsay Porter is a cetacean expert.
And Ben Fogle is a U.K. adventurer.
So, Lindsay, just tell me,
what kind of whales
in particular are we looking for?
Today, we're looking for the blue whale.
There are two different types
of blue whale we'll see in the area,
- the true blues and pygmy blues.
- And how do they differ?
Pygmy blues are slightly smaller
than true blue whales.
When you say "slightly smaller,"
what size are we talking about here?
Twenty-five meters.
Lindsay has such a depth of knowledge
that she's my first go-to
when I've got a question about a whale.
So, as the currents and the waves come in,
they create this very productive front,
and this is why we think the animals...
the whales, feed here.
So, when you say "productive front,"
I imagine krill, food,
is being welled up...
Ben Fogle rowed a boat
across the Atlantic.
And that meant
that he had a sense of adventure.
He was a risk-taker.
From the very first day
we saw them blowing,
we knew they were there,
but they were very hard to reach.
And fluke up. Oh, nice.
These animals can do
up to 30 kilometers an hour underwater,
and they can stay underwater
for a half an hour
and go in any direction.
When we saw them,
we'd follow them, try to get near them,
wait for them to come up again,
and then just never see them again.
Tell me what
I should be listening out for.
For whales, you need to listen
for a low-frequency monotone.
And for dolphins...
Oh, can you hear it right there? That?
- The whistles?
- The high-pitched whistles?
The high-pitched whistling.
That's dolphins.
That's the group of dolphins
we just passed.
- How far do you think they are?
- They'll still be within a kilometer.
- That's a long way to go.
- It's a long way. It's a big ocean.
They've got to talk to each other
over distance.
That's incredible.
We traveled up and down,
50 miles off the coast for two weeks
trying to get close to these animals.
We ran out of time.
We started heading back to port...
- Oh, look, look.
- At two o'clock...
another blow. Four.
And it looks like
he's going to fluke up...
and dive.
So, he'll probably be down
for another ten minutes or so.
They look like freight trains,
like enormous spaceships
that just travel effortlessly.
Every piece of them looked
like something
I'd seen on a... reengineered
on an aircraft or on a supercar.
When they fluke, they arch like that.
Their tail comes up vertically
and drops straight in the water,
and you can barely hear a sound.
Wow, look at that! Wow!
That is just beautiful!
It's the first time
that we believe that anyone
has ever filmed
a juvenile pygmy blue whale underwater.
What do you think it's from, Alex?
Is it from a ship?
No, it came from a river.
We were in the Indian Ocean,
off the coast of Sri Lanka, where
there hasn't been any commercial
fishing because of the civil war.
The beaches have been closed
for up to 30 years.
We thought this was
a relatively pristine environment.
Floating on the surface
and a meter below
was just this horrible, crappy,
emulsified mess of oil and bits of,
you know...
It's horrible, and looking through it,
you could see the tendrils
of the net hanging down.
That was certainly one of the most
unpleasant dives I've ever done.
I spent my childhood in the sea.
Growing up in Grand Cayman,
we didn't have
organized sports after school.
We didn't even have a TV until I was 13,
so the sea was my playground.
As a free-diver,
it was the place where...
I proved myself to myself by traveling
to the absolute edge of myself.
I need to put as much oxygen
in my blood as possible
so that I can hold my breath
for the three-and-a-half to four minutes
that the dive is gonna take me.
Five-hundred and
twenty-five feet is beyond
the crushing depth
of Second World War submarines.
In pushing so hard,
I learned about limits.
I've got a fiery redhead,
and she redefines my limits every day.
Finally for me,
it feels like there's a point
to this bizarre gift I have
of "looking pretty
and holding my breath."
I have the opportunity
to pay the sea back...
but I'm learning on my feet.
I didn't know that
in the last ten years,
we've made more plastic
than we did in the century before that.
Half of those plastic products
are considered "disposable."
But think about it.
How can a disposable product be made
of a material that's indestructible?
Where does it go?
This is a Bryde's whale.
It's dying, taking its final breaths.
Oh, my God.
It was found to have six square
meters of plastic sheeting inside it.
It couldn't eat
and it died of malnourishment.
Its digestive system was blocked
and it died a terrible, painful death.
That's got a hole in it.
This is all some of the rubbish
that we found
in the floating jetsam
and flotsam in the ocean.
We'll get Ben to go through it,
but there's even a pack
of unopened biscuits.
You can see it's been there for some time,
the mollusks that are growing off it.
There's crabs.
There's a crab in there, have a look.
So, quite extraordinary.
- Another one.
- Another one. Down here.
The detritus that's built up
in these areas
where they don't have the benefit
of getting rid of the rubbish.
Well, we're about 20 miles offshore.
It's been trapped in the river mouth
and now it's all flushed out into sea.
This is one of the main areas
where we're hunting
for the blue whales to film,
so this is right in their environment.
They feed by opening their mouth
and just sucking up
whatever's in their path.
They take in
hundreds of gallons of water,
they express that water, and
they feed off the krill and tiny fish.
But they can't tell the difference
between krill and plastic.
Disposable lighters.
Just... you know,
this is never gonna degrade.
These are gonna be floating there for...
a very long time.
They'll break down
to very small particles,
and that's if some large marine mammal
doesn't come along and swallow them whole.
It's got nowhere to go.
This is where it lives now.
Well, to contrast that area
of affected ocean by those plastics
with the virgin blue water
that you find very close by,
well, there's just no comparison.
The animals of the world deserve
the blue ocean, not that sort of shit.
I started to wonder
what's happening in oceans
elsewhere on the planet.
Sixty-three billion gallons
of oil are used every year
just to supply the U.S.
with plastic water bottles.
The U.S. alone throws away
38 billion bottles every year.
That's two million tons of plastic
going into U.S. landfills,
and that's only from water bottles.
In this year alone,
every single person on the planet
will use and dispose about 300 pounds
or 136 kilos, of single-use plastic.
Plastic is wonderful
because it's durable
and plastic is terrible
because it is durable.
Almost every piece of plastic ever made
is still on the planet
in some form or another.
Plastic production globally this year
is expected to be
more than 300 million tons.
Half of which we'll use just once
and then throw away.
By 2050, when the population explodes
to almost ten billion people,
it's expected that plastic production
will triple.
The problem with that is...
is that today, only a fraction
of the plastic that we produce
is recycled.
The rest ends up in our environment
and it's coating our land and our oceans
like a disease.
Tasmania smells like freshness.
It smells like salt spray.
Primitive. It just smells natural.
It has the cleanest air and water
measured anywhere on the planet.
The ocean to me, is my church,
it's my temple,
it's my synagogue, it's my mosque.
It's where I feel the most spiritual.
It's where I go to work,
where I go for my enjoyment,
and where I go to think.
And it's also the environment
that challenges me
more than any other environment
that I know.
Growing up, my world was...
exploring the rock pools...
tiny little fish that I could catch
and study and release a day later.
My mother was very caring
and very supportive
of anything that we wanted to do.
And she picked up very early on,
I think, my fascination with wildlife.
I'm fourth-generation journalist.
It's believed he's heading to Moscow.
We're on a truck
taking rice down to Santa Fe.
Okay, it's not live, is it?
Hang on, wait, wait! Whoa!
Further outside Katmandu you travel
the worse it seems the damage becomes.
Small villages like this one, Sankhu
stood no chance against the moving earth.
These rescue teams have been unable
to access inside this city.
The town that I grew up in
was an industrial town.
I remember coming out after training
from the surf lifesaving club,
where I was a member,
with just stinging red eyes.
So, when I worked for the newspaper,
I wanted to investigate
what was causing that.
We started doing testing
on the water in Emu Bay
and what we found was that there were
these heavy amounts of organochlorines
and these contain dioxins
which are cancer-causing agents.
I put this to the government of Tasmania
and they admitted for the first time
that these dioxins existed,
and that they were dangerous.
Within ten years,
all of those industries had closed, and
today the fish are back in the water.
The water is blue again,
and it's a very beautiful city.
We think that when we put
something in the trash
or when we just toss it from a boat
or on a beach, that it "goes away."
Ah! We're now free of the plastic.
Over 80 percent of ocean plastic
leaks from land-based sources.
Even if you don't live near the ocean,
chances are your plastic garbage
has found its way to the sea.
The Great Lakes in North America
are a good example.
Eighty percent of the litter
along the shorelines
of these majestic lakes is plastic.
What trash doesn't remain on the shoreline
or sink into the lake sediment
flows through the canals
and river system
through the St. Lawrence Seaway
and into the Atlantic Ocean.
These great lakes are just one example.
This level of plastic debris
is found all around the world.
Thousands of years
of agriculture and industry
have made the Med one of the most
polluted bodies of water on the planet.
About eight million tons of plastic
is dumped
into the world's oceans every year.
More than 50 percent of marine debris,
including plastic,
sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
- Ahoy!
- Hello, Mike!
- Hey, Popov.
- Welcome aboard.
- Good to see you.
- Yeah.
I met up with filmmaker,
Mike deGruy, a marine biologist
and also an experienced
submersible pilot.
It'll be interesting to see
just how far-reaching it really is.
To be this far offshore
and see whether the plastic that we know
is coming from that direction
is winding up out
in the depths out here, right?
I'm really looking forward to,
of course diving the sub in the Med,
a place that has more fishing impact
than most bodies of water on the planet.
Hey, Mike, it's Tanya. Can you tell me
what you're seeing down there?
You turn the light on,
and you're descending
through these particles.
Well, welcome to the bottom
of the ocean, Tanya.
I wish you were down here
watching this operation.
If you weren't hogging the sub,
I would be down there.
So, we're just under five meters now.
Almost 1200... About 1200 feet.
- And a plastic bottle.
- You see a plastic bottle. Exactly.
We're now starting to see more
and more plastic.
More and more tires and pieces of metal,
and just absolutely disregard
for the bottom, really.
It's just junk everywhere.
Fishing line is a really dangerous thing
to see in a submarine.
You can get entangled in it and
stuck to the bottom. Not a good thing.
Tanya, this is Remora.
We are right in front of
a pretty good-sized bundle of plastic.
Is there any chance that you can grab
some of it with the manipulator?
That's exactly what we're going to do.
It looks like a lift bag.
Could it be a lift bag?
It's a what?
We saw unexploded bombs, old parachutes,
and plenty of plastic rubbish.
Our scientists commissioned a small,
remotely-operated vehicle
to travel over a mile and a half down
to the deep trenches.
The ROV is coming down.
- There they are.
- Which is kind of cool.
Here, where the daylight never reaches,
the eddies and currents have
collected scores of plastic bottles.
This plastic could remain here forever.
You go down, you know, 350, 375 meters,
hit bottom, start moving around,
and immediately start seeing trash.
- Plastic?
- Plastic.
Where in the world can you go anymore
and not find plastic?
Our oceans are driven by five
major circular currents, or "gyres."
These are created by the earth's rotation
and the resulting predominant winds.
Each continent is affected
by these massive systems.
They collect waste flowing
from our rivers and coastlines,
and over time,
anything floating within the gyre
will eventually move
towards the center of the gyre.
Our producer, Jo Ruxton,
was familiar with the story
about a huge, floating island of garbage
twice the size of Texas
in the North Pacific.
Jo joined Dr. Andrea Neal and her team
on an expedition
to this Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
So, we're deploying the manta trawl,
and we're going to look
for fine particulates and debris.
This mesh here is 333 microns, which is
in the size range of zooplankton.
The manta trawl
captures material on the surface.
It will take anything
the size of a pinhead or larger.
Looking out over the vast expanse
of clear, sparkling water,
there is no plastic in sight.
The contents of the trawl
are emptied and floated.
The tiny pieces of plastic then
reveal themselves to Jo and Dr. Neal.
Scientists estimate
that there are more than
five trillion pieces of plastic afloat
in our oceans worldwide.
There is no "floating island" of plastic.
What exists is far more insidious.
What exists is a kind of "plastic smog."
These tiny pieces
of plastic that are floating
on the surface of the ocean
come from larger pieces.
Over time, the sun's ultraviolet light,
ocean wave action, and salt,
break it up into smaller pieces
called "microplastics."
Microplastics have rough,
pitted surfaces.
Waterborne chemicals
from industry and agriculture
stick to microplastics,
making them toxic poison pills.
There are five ocean gyres,
and the South Pacific
is one of the least studied
next to the Indian Ocean.
I've been to three of the five gyres,
so this will be my number four.
- So, let's go fishing for plastic.
- All right, let's do it.
My first study was done
in the North Atlantic in 2009.
We took a series of seven samples
and by weight, we then estimated
that the North Atlantic
had 3,440 metric tons
of just microplastics. We're not
even including the larger plastics.
Seems really heavy.
Maybe we caught a coconut.
- Aw, that's... Wow, look at that.
- Oh, yeah.
You can see how well this device works.
- Yeah.
- It collects everything.
They look like
they've just broken off something.
- Yeah, I mean...
- They're very tiny. Look at this.
Michael, I think we've found
our first "nurdle."
- Exactly what that is.
- Preproduction pellets.
Those things float all around the world,
don't they?
- Right. What does it look like to you?
- It looks like a little egg.
The sea at night
is one of my favorite times.
It's when the ocean truly comes alive
and you can virtually see
the food chain in action.
Zooplankton feed on phytoplankton.
Small fish feed on zooplankton.
Squid feed on small fish,
and so it goes on,
up and up the food chain.
- There are some myctophids in there.
- Oh, wow.
Well, shall we get them on the table
and open them up
and have a look and see what's in there?
We'll start with this guy.
- That's something hard right here.
- Yeah, what's that?
This is the very first sample we did,
and it was a night trawl,
so we could catch lantern fish.
After I dried the sample,
I handpicked the pieces of plastic.
This is what we found.
So, what this means
is the feeding that's occurring
on the surface of the ocean has these
plastic fragments floating around,
and is actually intermixing
in the food chain.
You know that plastic doesn't degrade.
Most of the time we say it breaks down
but that's probably not
an accurate way to say it.
It actually breaks up
so it's more, um, proliferated.
And when it's proliferated, there's more
opportunities for plastics to be ingested.
Many of the marine creatures eating this
kind of plastic are in our food chain.
Does that mean, then, that
this plastic is getting inside of us?
The problem is,
these plastics adsorb chemicals
that are free-floating in the ocean.
So when the fish eat the plastics,
those toxins then migrate from the plastic
into the muscles or the fats,
the parts that we like to eat in fish.
Building up in the fish then
as they eat more and more of them.
And so, that's the part we like to eat,
and that's where
these chemicals migrate to.
Big crab. Nice.
It's a prawn, eh?
- Hello, Rosie. How are you?
- Hi.
- Hi, Bula.
- Hi. Bula, Salota.
Dinner. What are we cooking?
We're having taro leaves
with fish in coconut milk.
That's a very traditional
Fijian village dinner.
Yes, it is. Yes, it is.
It smells really good
except for the smoke.
- Yeah, really making my eyes water.
- Yeah.
- Did you light your fire using plastics?
- Always, yes.
And you do that
every time you cook food?
Three times a day.
Instead of buying kerosene,
you use plastic
because it's easier to burn.
- Much cheaper, easier to find, it's free.
- Much more cheaper.
Very much. And it's free.
I'm feeling that in my eyes.
Do you feel that affects you in any way?
You start having problems in breathing
and you have problems in coughing.
And sometimes you can have headache.
But we...
It doesn't really bother us.
Because, like,
we've used that for a long time.
- So you're used to it. Yeah.
- We're used to it.
Whereas I'm not, which is why
I'm crying right now.
And I hope you're not crying
because of me.
There's no chance. I'm crying
because I won't get to try this food.
What I'd like to do is bring back
a scientist if we can
and do some measurements on the smoke
and just see what kind of chemicals
are being released
from the plastics as you cook.
- Would you let us do that?
- Yes, of course.
We can have a look
at maybe some of the health implications
of starting the fires with plastic.
Yes, I think that's a good idea.
People misuse plastics
for a lot of things.
But for cooking, I mean that's...
for me, it's kind of
very unusual circumstances.
And we wanna have a baseline study
to show what kind of chemicals
we're actually breathing in.
Because the lung is an interface
between that air we're breathing in,
plus the smoke and our blood system,
and then we get it in our systems.
What did we find today then
with the experiment that you did
with this device?
I'll show you. These filters are white
when you put them in, but...
That's brown, almost black.
- Yeah.
- This is a mini lung.
This could be what
- they're absorbing into their lungs.
- Yeah, pretty much.
This can't be good
for your health, can it?
What we know
specifically from this P.A.H
and a combination of those
is that they are cancer-causing.
That's one thing.
But there are also maybe phthalates there
which are evaporating from plastics
which have a large percentage
of the phthalates in there
to give plastic its properties.
If you breathe them, they have,
um, hormone-changing properties,
"endocrine-disrupting properties."
And all...
lot of other health effects as well.
Professor Sue Jobling is the editor
of the recent World Health Organization
report on endocrine disrupters.
Endocrine disruption
is disruption of the normal functioning
of the body's hormonal system.
They fool the body into thinking
that they are hormones
and then they either block or mimic
the action or production of hormones.
And in doing so, they interfere
with very many bodily processes...
growth, metabolism, reproduction,
and critically, early development.
The majority of ocean plastic
comes from just six countries.
RTHK News.
Billions of plastic pellets
have spilled into Hong Kong's
southern waters
after several containers fell off a ship
when Typhoon Vicente battered Hong Kong.
Six containers full of nurdles.
All of them broke up in the storm
and disgorged most of their plastic
bags into the sea.
The vast majority broke open
and the contents spilled out.
Run them through your fingers there.
Just plastic pellets everywhere. Yeah.
It looked like snow on the beach.
On the neighboring Lamma Island,
they found tons of this stuff
that had come ashore.
It seems the company
that made the nurdles
has unwittingly put
their signature on her.
Sinopec, a giant Chinese oil company
that makes nurdles
for distribution worldwide.
Close by are some other sacks,
also ripped open.
The vast majority of them
would have been carried off
by the typhoon
to disperse their contents far and wide.
Four of the six are here,
so we've got the one on the top here.
It's the one we found
at Beaufort Island.
It's totally destroyed.
It's a... It's a 40-foot container.
We've been told
it carries a thousand sacks.
- There's still one hasn't been found.
- Still one out there somewhere.
There's a million pellets
of plastic in these bags.
So, every single bag
saves thousands of marine species,
so, every bag counts at this point.
Every day, pellets are
getting washed out
and trying to get
that sense of urgency across.
We put a call to action out on Facebook.
"Go to your local beach,
this is what you're looking for."
These are the bags,
these are the pellets.
You know,
we came up with a rapid action plan.
Get a quick survey of the coast
so we can see the bigger picture.
And from that,
then we isolated some hot spots.
"Which beach, Cheung Chau/Mui Wo,
needs more people to help?"
Uh, Beach Number 1.
I set up the Facebook page,
"Plastic Disaster Hong Kong"
and it went from 80 to a thousand likes
in a few hours.
And it became pretty much the one place
where all the information
was being posted by everybody.
Even the government were checking it.
Sinopec were checking it.
Sinopec sent down people
from their head office.
They had general managers
on the beaches.
They have been very responsible.
They have been down.
We had an emergency meeting about it.
They're very concerned
and they're offering
all the assistance they can.
Thanks for helping, guys. Um...
There's some more concentrated pellets
down the end there.
Once you let people know
what the problem is,
people have their own ideas
and can contribute their own ingenuity
to help solve the problem.
The people of Hong Kong
realized the severity of the problem
and just came out
in their masses to help.
And that is something
that I will never, ever forget.
So, this is what they found
in the fish farm.
Pellets like this floating in the sea,
and then they're found in the bags.
We caught three fish.
They cut them open and each fish
had five, six, seven pellets in it.
Because they can't ingest anything?
They can't take in any more food?
Even the supermarkets won't buy them.
So, it's completely destroyed
the local market.
In a recent study published
in Scientific Reports,
U.C. Davis researchers examined 76 fish
slated for human consumption
in Indonesia, and 64 in California.
They found that in both groups,
roughly one quarter
had anthropogenic debris in their guts.
The researchers found plastic
in the Indonesian population
and plastic and textile fibers
in the American one.
When sampling blue mussels
at six locations
along the coastlines of France,
Belgium, and Netherlands,
microplastics were present
in every single organism examined.
When you eat shellfish,
you're often eating the entire animal.
So you're more likely to eat plastic.
Lord Howe Island
is a world heritage site...
and home to migratory seabirds
like the shearwaters.
Seabirds are incredibly helpful
because they act like an army
of scientists.
They travel thousands of miles
across the ocean.
They pick up plastic
off the surface of the ocean,
they bring it back to their rookeries
where they feed it to their chicks.
And that provides
an incredible amount of scientific data
in terms of where the plastic
comes from, its distribution,
and how it breaks up
on the ocean's surface.
Dr. Jennifer Lavers...
she's devoted her life to studying
the plight of seabirds.
Shearwaters are incredible birds.
They migrate thousands of miles,
stopping only here to breed.
All species of shearwater
nest in the earth.
Their parents return from their distant
ocean feeding grounds by night
to feed their chicks in their burrows.
After 70 to 90 days, the chicks
venture aboveground for the first time.
They stretch their wings and
begin developing their flight muscles
We're gonna take
some ambient temperature saltwater,
like he would normally be fed
by his parents,
and Ian's just gonna hold
the mouth open here,
and I'm going to, um, put the tube
down into the stomach
if we can get him
to cooperate for a moment.
Have you ever received
serious injury from one of these?
Indeed. Have I ever.
More than I can possibly count.
Depending on how full his stomach is,
we could be here for a little while.
No, still nothin'. Still nothin'.
There we go.
Whoa! Look at that.
Need to get some of the oil
and stuff out of the way.
It's very thick with all that oil in it.
- That's a lot of plastic, isn't it?
- Yeah, and some interesting colors.
The red is quite, quite, uncommon.
It looks like we've got quite a few
of the resin pellets, the nurdles,
lots of microplastics.
There's no way at 935 grams that
he would be able to take to the air.
I'm gonna make a bit of a note, he's got
some damage to his lower mandible.
Forty-one point seven.
Garbage thrown away
in the United States
can make its way to Antarctica.
Plastic in our coastal waters
is pulled into the center of massive,
wind-driven, churning circular gyres.
There are many other ocean currents
also diverting the trash
all around the surface of the ocean.
In reality, it's just one ocean
with no boundaries.
Yeah, the stomach is very, very full,
and if we look here, uh,
there's some very dark pieces,
some very light white pieces,
and if you see, you know, as I
push on this, it's absolutely rigid.
Completely full of plastic
all the way up.
Ah! Look at that.
Absolutely no doubt that this bird died
as a result of that plastic.
That is literally a gut full of plastic.
- It's quite alarming, isn't it?
- Ah, it's awful.
Range of plastic types and colors.
We've got everything
from the blues and the reds, to...
His stomach's just filled with it.
Big pieces too.
Big, sharp pieces.
Oh, wow, look at the size
of that big, black piece.
That is an enormous piece of plastic.
Look at the size of that.
Jen, I counted 234 pieces of plastic
out of that one bird.
- Is that a record?
- Not even close, unfortunately.
So, for the species,
the record is 276 pieces of plastic
inside of one 90-day-old chick.
And that plastic,
when we weighed it out,
accounted for 15 percent
of that bird's body mass.
That's a pretty scary statistic.
If we translate that into human terms,
it gets even worse.
That would be equivalent to you and I
having somewhere around six or eight kilos
of plastic inside of your stomach.
It's equivalent to about 12 pizzas'
worth of food inside of your stomach.
Midway Island is miles away
from any coastline
but it has one of the biggest populations
of Laysan albatross in the world.
Like the shearwater,
their parents have traveled thousands
of kilometers to find food.
It's quite a bit of plastic
for just one little bird.
The parents
were trying to do the right thing.
There's a lot of squid beaks in here
and, um, this purple color
is evidence of the squid ink.
It's just a shame
that every now and then
they got it wrong,
and got it wrong in a bad way.
To try and wrap your mind
around the condition of this animal
and the quality of its life,
really, is quite an overwhelming thing.
I do have some pretty rough days...
have to go home
and really wrap my mind around,
"Where do we go from here?"
All week we've been cutting up birds
and this is without a doubt the absolute
worst one that I've come across.
That is an incredible amount of plastic.
I've come to Asinara,
a small island off the northern tip
of Sardinia, to meet with Cristina Fossi
a professor of ecotoxicology
at the University of Siena.
The turtle rescue center here
has just received a loggerhead turtle.
The animals come from Corsica,
right, so from France.
And they have identified the animals
because they have a problem of floating.
So, it was floating in a very unusual way
and then they have discovered
that the cause is the presence of
a large amount of plastic in the stomach.
- These plastics?
- These plastics.
They produce gas and then the animal
is not more able to go down, to dive.
Does he have to perform
a surgery to remove this?
- No, no. He use very simple stuff.
- Yeah.
This one was used to remove the gas
from the intestinal tract,
then he use...
It's, uh, an antibiotic,
a normal antibiotic
in order to save the animal
from infection.
And then the last point
was to use a fat, uh, diet.
- Treat the gas, get everything moving...
- Gas...
- ...and get it out.
- Yes.
So, commonly plastic bag
that's floating on the surface
can be misunderstood as a jellyfish.
And then they can be eating
days after days.
Plastic bags or other pieces of plastic,
obviously the consequence
can be lethal for the animals.
Cristina's name is well-recognized
around the world for her stand
against the killing
of whales and dolphins.
We use the approach of the skin biopsy
in order to identify
the level of chemicals
and the toxicological effect
on these wild animals.
Today we are moving around
the Gulf of Asinara,
try to see some bottlenose dolphin, then
we collect some microplastic samples.
An increasing number
of dolphins and turtles
in the Mediterranean
are turning up dead.
Cristina's focus
is to get to the bottom of this mystery.
And she has a very unusual way
of getting the information she needs.
How can you get a tiny piece of blubber
from whales and dolphins
without hurting them?
The dart bounces off,
taking a small piece of flesh with it,
which the scientists use
to conduct their research.
It's very difficult.
It may be, I don't know, but...
So, we can start to process the biopsy
that was collected with the darts.
The species is bottlenose dolphins.
That's one of the common species
around the coast
and we suppose also
one of the most polluted ones.
You expect that you're finding
derivatives from plastics
in the blubber of these animals
because they're consuming
other animals that are
directly consuming the plastics.
And so, if the plastics
are in the food chain for the dolphin,
they're also in our food chain.
We have already very interesting result,
but I would like to invite you
into the lab.
When animals eat plastic,
they're also consuming
the toxins attached to the plastic.
Toxins pass into the bloodstream.
There, they bio-accumulate
in the fatty tissue
and around the vital organs.
When animals use the stored fat,
the toxins circulate around the body,
interfering with reproduction, metabolism
growth, kidney and liver function.
As we have seen this day,
there is clear evidence
that plankton species
and fin whale, for example,
have a very high level of phthalates,
that we consider
one of the plastic derivatives.
But that data can represent
a real warning sign
of exposure
to the Mediterranean environment,
including humans,
in real toxicological risk.
Smokey Mountain I operated
as a two million-metric ton waste dump
for more than 40 years.
It closed in 1995.
This garbage tip
contains so much methane
which was produced
by the garbage within it,
that when it reaches
a certain temperature, it catches fire.
That creates this smoke
that comes out of the top of the pile
and filters over the city of Manila.
So, sweet potatoes, corn, sugar cane,
all growing on 40 years of garbage.
- Yeah.
- You worked here as a 12-year-old.
Yeah. To earn money
to support my family needs.
And what would you collect up here?
like bottles, cans, and plastics.
This, uh, local chap here is still
harvesting the plastic
that's in the ground.
- Yeah, lot of plastic.
- It's just everywhere.
- What's the most common disease here?
- Uh, pulmonary.
- Pulmonary, such as tuberculosis,
- Yeah.
Yes, emphysema.
Emphysema, yes.
My father died due to emphysema.
No one knows how much plastic
has accumulated in the sea
in the last 50 years,
but one thing is sure,
the pace has picked up.
The world of plastics
is present everywhere,
yet this presence
is but a premonition of a future world.
Our children will see
a bit of that world
and our grandchildren
will not see the end of it.
The smell is almost indescribable.
It's kind of like a cross
between sewage and oil,
and it's everywhere.
The ground, to within two inches
above it is covered in flies.
I could see a child flying a kite.
You could see the kite
was made from a plastic bag
and he'd fashioned this himself and used
straws as the mainframe for the kite.
If you got behind him
and looked towards the sky,
he could have been any child
anywhere in the world.
Every time it rains here,
every time the wind blows offshore,
the sludge, the plastic from all of that
rubbish ends up straight in Manila Bay,
and I guess into the stomachs
of whatever marine animals
are still able to survive in the bay.
A lot of plastic here. I guess a lot
of this is brought in by the river.
Yeah, it came from the Pasig River.
Also it's been washed up
by, uh, the ocean during typhoons
and, uh, also people living here also
throw their garbage in this area
because there are no garbage collectors
coming into the area
to collect the garbage.
How much waste... plastic waste
is put into the waterways here?
- Do you have any idea?
- Uh, around 1500 tons daily.
One thousand five hundred tons every day?
One more, one more!
- Ready?
- You go now!
One, two, three, four!
Thank you.
Well, I have to say, you're all
much better basketballers than I am.
- I'm so bad. I'm sorry.
- Again, again?
I'm no good at basketball.
You're very good at basketball. This guy.
- Thank you.
- Very good.
- Do you all live here? In Pier 18?
- Yes.
- And you play basketball all the time?
- Yeah.
Do you go to school?
- Yes.
- No.
Yes, you go to school?
You don't go to school? No?
- No.
- No?
- So, what do you do during the day?
- Uh, scavenger work.
Scavenger, yeah?
What do you scavenge for?
- This.
- The plastic?
Ah! And what do you do with the plastic,
once you...?
- Go to the junk shop.
- Yeah?
And what do they
give you for the plastic?
- Money.
- Money. Is it good money?
- What kind of money?
- Money.
- He's asking how much we're earning.
- It's 150 pesos.
- Yeah?
- One day.
- For one day?
- Yeah.
And what do you do with the money?
- I give it to my mother.
- Your mother.
- Yeah.
- Yes?
And what does she do with the money?
- Buy the rice.
- The rice. Right.
So you can play, grow up,
be healthy, play good basketball.
Show me. Give me your shot.
Most of the waste
created by the individuals
within each of these villages,
towns and cities
generally ends up on the streets
or in their canals.
It's easy to understand
how these sorts of places
become delivery systems
for plastic into our oceans.
I understand that this
was ten feet deep in plastic.
Literally ten feet of plastic
that was pulled out of this canal.
First we dredged,
but we realized that we're digging
down to China, we stopped.
What we did
was to cover it up with, uh, good soil
and garden soil, and
then we put up, uh, the coco-pillows.
It's, uh, made from coconut husk.
And then we spread it up until there.
We vegetated it in the vetiver grass.
The plants take
the rest of the waste out of the water.
- Yes.
- And now we've got fish swimming.
- And turtles.
- Wildlife.
It's clean enough
for animals to live in now.
It's clean enough, yes.
- Is it drinkable?
- Not yet.
- Not yet. Working on that one.
- Working on that one.
And so you're going
to do this project now
throughout the canals
and river systems of Manila?
Yes, uh, with the same idea
of putting bioremediation
and phytoremediation together.
Do you think that will solve
the plastic pollution problem here?
The one that will solve
the plastic solution
is the behavior of the people
around this area.
So, maybe we'll start with that first
and then we'll solve
everything else afterwards.
I'm off to visit the tiny,
isolated coral atoll of Tuvalu
in the South Pacific, near Fiji.
As a mother, I care deeply about
the effects of plastic on our health.
Tuvalu gained its independence in 1978.
It began importing foreign goods
and food and with that came plastic.
I realized just how tiny this nation was
when I flew in over the atoll.
Tuvalu is a microcosm
of the entire planet,
and they have nowhere
to put the plastic.
During World War II,
in order to build an airstrip
for the Allies in the Pacific theater,
large quantities of coral were dug up
and carted off to be crushed
and mixed for the tarmac.
Gaping holes left behind
are called "borrow pits."
They were never filled back in,
and are now used for refuse.
How long have you lived
in this borrow pit?
- Twenty-five years.
- So, you're 25 years old?
- Yeah.
- In your 25-year lifetime,
have you seen the amount of plastic
in your surrounding community increase?
Yeah. Very increase.
Before, in my early childhood,
I don't see any plastic
because we don't used
to import packaging, plastics.
Tell me what it was like
growing up here as a child.
We always, uh, swim at the borrow pit.
We don't know that there is,
uh, "affectiveness" to us.
We just swim and then we go...
We like fishing.
You used to fish out
of the borrow pit and eat the fish?
But you don't do that anymore?
No, we don't eat the fish.
We just feed the pigs.
- You feed the fish to the pigs?
- Yeah.
What kind of health problems
are you seeing people suffer from?
Flu. Some people, they get cancer.
And then some people,
they don't get pregnant.
People in the borrow pit
are having problems conceiving?
If things don't change
in the borrow pit,
but the people stay here,
what do you think will happen?
I think they get disease.
And they don't want to leave.
Like, this is a nice place,
but because of the imported packaging,
they destroy our paradise.
And I want to give good future
for my children.
'Cause I love my children.
How does a U.S. Navy
aircraft carrier handle its waste?
With about 4,500 sailors onboard, just
shy of half the population of Tuvalu
the amount of waste generated
every day is enormous.
U.S. Navy is looking for a way
to deal with shipboard waste
without having to go into port.
The belly of the latest aircraft carrier
will be fitted with a gleaming maze of
steel pipes to devour the ship's waste.
PyroGenesis of Montreal
was contracted by the U.S. Navy
to develop a green technology capable
of processing the waste
generated by these sailors.
At the heart of this technology
is a plasma torch
that changes the molecular structure
of whatever is put into it
transforming it back
to its core elements.
Better still, it has no detrimental
effect on the environment,
it runs off its own energy,
and is affordable.
If they could shrink
the plant into the size
of something that you can put
into a shipping container,
take to small islands like Tuvalu,
set it up so that you can put in
all of the rubbish
that's existing on the island,
and have it turn into inert
or nontoxic substances,
that's going to go a long way
to help solving the problems
that exist on islands in the Pacific.
If an innovative, workable solution
like pyrogenesis is not implemented
in places like Tuvalu,
the quality of life
will continue to decline.
The island will eventually be choked
by its own plastic waste.
Combined with the rising sea level
caused by climate change,
Tuvalu's habitability
is under serious threat.
One of the kids we've befriended here
has developed
a pretty bad lingering cough.
We think his problems might be linked
to a hobby he shares with his friends,
making jewelry out of melted plastic.
Tanya is extremely protective
of her children,
so she's incredibly engaged
in their well-being,
particularly where she has control.
And she has control
over her environment.
This is Charlie, huh?
Surprised he wasn't born
with a face mask.
- Yeah, right? And a nose clip?
- And a nose clip.
It wasn't easy for me to conceive.
I'm an older mom.
I worked really hard for this.
All the time trying to conceive
being really clean in my body.
Went through my entire pregnancy
without taking so much as a Tylenol.
- Throw the line in there, Till.
- Okay.
This is actually Catfish Corner.
My kids make me really passionate
about the subject. Annoyingly passionate.
You know. Ask my husband.
He'll roll his eyes.
He goes from this guy
who is washing Ziploc bags
and I think, "Oh, I'm winning!
My husband is washing Ziploc bags!"
I see them drying in the sink
and I'm like, "Yes!"
But then he'll forget and I see,
you know, plastic wrap over a food,
and I'm like, "No!"
Now, you've had a very
healthy, uh, lifestyle.
You haven't been able to control
every aspect of it,
so the likelihood is he may have plastic
in his system.
It's terrifying. It's awful.
And it... you know,
it's made me question sometimes,
"Gosh, is even having children
the right thing to do?"
I'm still very, very motivated
to obviously do the right thing
by myself and my family,
but also to try to incite change
where I can as an environmentalist,
as an activist.
I'm optimistic
because it beats the alternative.
Austin is a very cool city.
It's environmentally aware.
It was the first city in Texas
to ban the plastic bag.
It's an oasis of eco-friendly people
in a state that's headquarters
for the largest oil companies
and petrochemical plants.
PlastiPure is where
we formulate and test plastics
for their physical characteristics.
On the CertiChem side, where we are here,
we test plastics and other substances,
as well as individual chemicals, uh,
to see if they have estrogenic activity.
A lot of plastics,
perhaps the great majority, probably
release chemicals
that have estrogenic activity.
Estrogenic activity, or "E.A.,"
happens when a chemical
like BPA or phthalate
leaches from plastic and enters the body
where it mimics the hormone estrogen.
Ninety-two point six percent
of Americans
age six and older have detectible levels
of BPA in their bodies.
The levels in children
between six and 11 years of age
are twice as high
as those in older Americans.
Are all of those chemicals not regulated?
No, the FDA at present
does not have any regulations
for how many chemicals and what levels
of chemicals having estrogenic activity
can be released from plastics or
from cosmetics or papers or silicones.
So, how is the general public protected
from that kind of thing?
- Uh, they aren't.
- They aren't?
From baby bottles
to sippy cups to food can liners
to water bottles hydrating
the youngest athletes,
consumers have been exposed to a
root chemical called Bisphenol A or BPA.
An artificial sex hormone
used as a core building block
in close to seven billion pounds
of plastic on the market today,
because of its strength and resiliency.
This isn't a weak, uh, contaminant.
This is a powerful contaminant
and it's striking right at the core
of American public health.
When something says that it's BPA-free,
is that something I can trust?
Over 90 percent of all plastics
that don't have BPA,
nonetheless, uh, release chemicals
having estrogenic activity.
So, BPA is not the only bad guy
that we need to be looking out for.
BPA is only one bad guy.
- Like saying, "I've caught Al Capone!"
- Yeah.
- "I've just handled...
- Yeah.
...the criminal problem
in the United States!"
We do quite a bit of this testing
to see where the issues are
but we also use that data to
help manufacturers make safer products.
Right. The average consumer goes,
You know, "I don't get it.
Tell me what is the right one,
what is safe, what isn't."
When we look at baby bottles,
we have to look
at all the different components
that come in contact
with the milk or with the baby.
All of the hard and clear materials
that we've tested
leach these estrogenic chemicals.
Other things, like the nipple, are
generally made from silicone or latex.
Latex, uh, always, from our tests,
has come back positive for E.A.
And silicone generally is positive
for estrogenic activity.
And stainless steel is obviously,
I thought, a better option.
If it doesn't have a liner,
uh, stainless steel, it tends to be fine
and glass tends to be fine.
The colorants, uh, tend
to leach a lot of chemicals,
so we, uh, try to stay away
from colorants when we can.
When we can't,
white and black tend to be...
- The least? Okay.
- The least.
And we've started using a lot more foil
in our house, rather than this stuff.
- Foil is a better option.
- Okay.
We use foil in the lab because foil
doesn't leach these chemicals.
And this, I know, Styrofoam, is
a personal, personal pet peeve of mine.
The likelihood is estrogenic chemicals
will leach out of styrene products.
Cold foods, anything?
Likely, hot fluids would increase
the amount of leaching,
but it'd still be leaching something.
The majority of plastics
increase the release of chemicals
having estrogenic activity
after they've been exposed,
to particularly sunlight.
How do you not consume it?
You can't go anywhere
without seeing food wrapped in plastic.
You can't go to a restaurant
without, you know,
takeout boxes being in plastic,
hot foods going into plastic.
My answer there is, well,
demand safer plastic.
So, what we're gonna do
is go inside a couple of restaurants
and ask them about, uh...
We'll ask them for food
and see if they can't give it to us
in a non-plastic container.
- Hello, how are you doing?
- Good, how are you?
I'm not too bad.
Can I get the, um, "Power Plant"?
Can I get a small "Berry Blast"?
Hello, there. Um...
Can I get an orange juice, please?
What can I get you for lunch today?
- I'm getting the BLT.
- A BLT.
Do you have anything
not wrapped in plastic?
I have nothing to do with the food.
Do you have anything
other than plastic to put it in?
No. You can buy
our giant little reusables.
Yeah, but that's still plastic.
- This one's what we got.
- Without the plastic lid's fine.
- Is that paper? It is? Great. Yeah.
- Yes.
- Do you have anything other than plastic?
- We have that one in a cold press.
It's actually exposed to less oxygen,
so it's way better juice
with twice the amount
of vitamins and nutrients.
- That sounds really healthy.
- Yeah, it's the way to go for the balance.
- Yeah, that sounds great.
- Cool, man.
But do you serve it in
anything other than plastic containers?
We have them made, uh,
at our central kitchen every morning,
and they bring 'em to us
on the cold press juicer,
so it's ready to go,
bottled for convenience.
But that's in plastic, yeah?
- Do you have something not plastic?
- No.
And you serve all your drinks
in plastic cups as well?
Yes, sir.
Keep the straw 'cause that's plastic.
- I'll have to leave it then, I think.
- Yeah?
- Yeah.
- Okay, that's okay.
- Yeah. Okay. Well, thanks very much.
- Yeah.
All right, what can I get you?
Yeah, I felt like I was
a bit of an eco-warrior.
Tell me, what's my food wrapped in?
It's not plastic, is it?
I'm going to die of something.
Yeah, but do you wanna die early or late?
My boyfriend actually tells me
every single day of my life
to not be drinking water bottles
from my car
but if I'm thirsty, I'm thirsty.
You know what? He's right.
And you've got that wrapped in paper.
That's good.
That's impressive for a takeaway place.
Take the salad and stick 'em in
like, a few of these.
Yeah, that'd be better
than sticking it in plastic.
If you could put it maybe
between two paper plates.
It's just all the chemicals
in this that get into the food.
You've made such a great sandwich,
by the look of it.
We gave in to the sales hype of
the '50s that plastic was "disposable,"
that we could throw it away.
There is no "away."
It's so very hard as a parent,
as a mom, as a woman,
to feel like you can do the best thing,
you know, that you can do
the right thing anymore.
Every day, you know,
we're contributing potentially
to a dreadful health problem later on
down the line.
No. There's nothing else to put it in.
Beep, beep, beep.
What this white stuff is,
is like the worst of the worst.
Like a rubbish bin,
the earth is filling up with the stuff.
There is nowhere else to put it.
That's why, as much as possible,
we choose foods and drinks
that don't have plastic around them.
It starts with the individual
and it starts with us.
What do you do?
You can't possibly filter out
these tiny particles
from the entire ocean.
You can't filter the entire ocean.
In fact,
so much plastic is in the ocean now
in a form that we really can't get to it
that I feel the emphasis needs
to immediately shift
toward "stop putting it in."
Mike deGruy is right.
But how do we get to the point
where we can stop putting it in?
- Hi. That's me.
- I'd like to speak to the manager.
I notice when I came in here
and ordered, uh,
my sandwich and my drink,
they both came in plastic containers.
Our cups are a hundred percent
plant-based so they can be composted.
You're one of the first places in Austin
I've come to that has an alternative.
Is that right?
Best alternative option
I've got for you today.
That's perfect. I appreciate it.
Least you've got an alternative.
- Exactly.
- Thank you very much. Appreciate it.
- Have a great weekend.
- You too.
Find me some Gala apples
that are not in plastic.
Demand that your supermarket
deliver your food products in paper
or just as they come.
They don't need to be wrapped in plastic
and if they are, take the plastic off
and leave it with them and say,
"You dispose of it
and dispose of it properly."
Because once it becomes their problem,
you'll find that they will do
something about it.
Don't put your plastic rubbish
in a dumpster
where you know it's going to landfill.
In 1991, Germany became
the first country in the world
to pass packaging laws
forcing plastic manufacturers
to be responsible
for the recycling or disposal
of any packaging material they sell.
The industry set up a company
to oversee plastic waste collection
recognized by the green dot.
When I was a kid,
we used to run around the neighborhood
collecting glass bottles
to take to the store
to collect the 5-cent refund
that we'd get.
Plastic packaging pretty much killed
the bottle deposit system.
But here in Germany,
they've reinstated it.
You can take your plastic bottles
to almost any supermarket
and put them in this machine.
And what it does is it reads a barcode
which tells the machine
the kind of plastic that it is,
that it's recyclable,
and which retailer it comes from.
So the consumer gets
a 25-cent deposit off every bottle,
the retailer gets the plastic,
which they can sell to recyclers
for a lucrative amount of money.
And on the streets of Germany,
you very rarely see these things anymore
because everybody recycles them.
The Germans demonstrated
that there is profit to be made.
Today, recycling
is a lucrative industry.
Pressure your government.
Tell them that you do not accept that
plastic should be in the environment.
The manufacturers of plastic
have their own lobby groups
and they'll lobby the government
to get the best possible deal
for them to get their products
into the marketplace
for the least cost,
and the least cost means
that they don't have
to be responsible for it.
If they manufacture it,
they should be responsible
for its collection
and for its proper disposal.
We will all be better off
if less plastic is manufactured
in the first place.
Scientists are already calling
for governments
to reclassify plastic
as a hazardous substance.
Because then, existing laws
about hazardous substances
will already be in effect.
Plastic bags and water bottles
are the worst single-use offenders.
What if we ban them outright
to stop that vicious cycle?
Rwanda is one of the very few countries
that has banned plastic bags.
Rwanda being an agricultural country...
whereby we don't have
a lot of industries
we have tried to assess
the impact of plastic bags
I think it's a shocking waste
of valuable resources
that these materials
are being put in the landfill.
They're so much more valuable.
If we put them in the landfill,
the cost in Europe is roundabout
a minus 100 pounds a ton, $150.
But as a useful plastic, it could be
worth plus $1,200, $1,500 a ton.
So, it's a huge difference in value.
We actually have the answers now
to recycling most plastics,
uh, and the challenge really
is to get everyone onboard
with those ideas, and also to get the
collection infrastructure going right
so that we get big volumes coming
concentrated in one place,
so that people can then have
the confidence to invest
in the recovery technology.
Once sorted, recycled plastics
are brought into factories like this
where they can become part
of a circular economy,
cleaned of labels and processed
into newborn nurdles,
ready to be sold once again.
As recyclers,
we think governments could do more
to encourage development
of circular supply chains.
A lot of recycled plastics
can be used back, as we say,
in "closed loop,"
back in the same products.
And that's happening a lot with bottles
and pots, tubs and trays
from the packaging stream,
but there are plenty of other outlets
where a short-life item,
like a piece of packaging
can go into a long-life application.
For example, in construction products,
uh, in automotive,
in making cars and trains
and airplanes and things like that
where you can get the performance
of the recycled polymer just as good
as virgin material
that's come out of the ground.
You can take it from a bottle one day
to a shirt the next day.
From that shirt, then it can become
a component in a vehicle.
It can become something
that's sent to space.
Through the Plastic Bank,
we make plastic waste a currency,
so that people in developing countries
can earn an income while preventing
plastic from entering the ocean.
David Katz and Shaun Frankson
founded the Plastic Bank.
They established a social plastic
recycling system in Haiti
that exchanges plastic
for solar cell phone charging,
sustainable cook stoves and cash.
It's like a fair-trade plastic
where it's ethically sourced...
and it's above-market rate income
that they earn.
The people in need can go
and collect the plastic
and create a microeconomy
around recycling.
This is something that we can scale
anywhere in the world.
This is a self-sustaining
social enterprise.
All of the plastic collected
through the Plastic Bank goes through
the recycling process
and is sold as "social plastic"
to be used in manufacturing
by values-aligned brands,
or it can be used to 3D print.
They're using it instead
of virgin plastic.
If you're choosing between two products
and one's made
of social plastic and one's not,
you're really choosing between,
"Do I help or do I hurt the planet?"
Social plastic is really our way
that we can create an organic,
global infrastructure.
New technology means that waste
can now be converted into energy.
In Europe alone,
there are 15 million tons
of end-of-life plastic
going into landfill every year.
Cynar, a waste-to-fuel company,
designed a machine
that turns end-of-life plastic
like candy wrappers and snack packets,
which aren't usually recyclable,
into diesel.
Using a heating process
called "pyrolysis,"
it turns an environmental problem
into a valuable commodity.
Each machine can process
about 20 tons of plastic daily,
making about 18,000 liters of diesel
or the equivalent
of 113 barrels of oil a day.
Islands like Lord Howe
manage their plastic waste
with solutions that match
the way they live.
There is no burning
and there is no landfill on this island.
Food waste, the garden waste,
paper and cardboard gets composted.
All the recyclables
are baled and sent back to the mainland,
and currently the island's
diverting 85 percent
of all their waste from landfill.
This is the recycling sorting facility.
We can separate, we can bale everything.
You can galvanize a community
to do amazing things.
The whales are diving
into a sea of plastic bottles
and the bottles were collected
from the Bristol 10K Race.
It was important to the artist,
Sue Lipscombe,
to make this sculpture
out of sustainable materials.
She used recycled plastics
and locally-grown willow.
There are 70,000 bottles.
That means in some way,
up to 70,000 people
have contributed to this art.
I kick off by telling the kids
something about whales
and the reaction is just fantastic.
They love hearing about how big
they are. They really get it.
They ask you
all sorts of perceptive questions
an adult might not think about.
And I really just love
the enthusiasm of the pupils.
Wouldn't it be great
if politicians 40 years down the line
still had that same enthusiasm
that schoolchildren show
when they come here?
Wouldn't the world be a different place?
We've treated the ocean
as a place to throw things,
dispose of things that we did not
want close to where we thought we live.
In 2015, natural history
broadcaster Sir David Attenborough,
met with President Barack Obama.
Obama, who spent his boyhood
in the natural splendor of Hawaii,
grew up watching Attenborough's films.
What we're seeing is global trend,
uh, that...
depend on the entire world
working together.
- Yes.
- My daughters, I find Malia and Sasha...
they're much more environmentally
aware, this generation...
- I believe that.
- ...than some previous generations.
They think it's, uh, self-apparent
that we've got a problem
and that we should be
doing something about it.
I absolutely agree.
And the young people, they care.
They know that this is the world
that they're gonna grow up in
and they're going
to spend their lives in.
But I think it's...
I think it's more idealistic than that.
They actually believe that humanity,
human species,
has no right to destroy
and despoil, regardless.
- They actually feel that very powerfully.
- Right. They do.
The whole of the ecosystems of the world
are based on a healthy ocean.
And if that part of the planet
becomes dysfunctional, goes wrong,
then the whole of life
on this planet will suffer.
The whole planet is where we live.
There is no "away" that you can put things
and expect that they're really away.
This phrase "not in my back yard"...
the ocean is everyone's back yard
or front yard or living space.
No matter how you look at it, this
planet is governed by the blue part.
The world truly is mostly a blue place.
I'll be just as worried
about Tilly and Charlie
when they're...
in their 70s and 80s and I'm long gone.
I still want them to be healthy
and certainly not suffering
the effects of
any decisions that I made.
I wanna go back to where it all started.
I wanna go back to the whales.
I wanna go and find the juvenile
that we first saw.
If whales could talk to us,
I imagine they would ask us,
"What were we thinking?"
Every other species on the planet
works towards the benefit
of the ecology
and environment that it lives in,
but us humans, we just seem
like passengers on this earth.
I want to say
to the parents of the juvenile,
"I'm sorry.
I'm so sorry, on behalf of humanity,
for putting plastic into your home."
And I want to say,
"We'll share this story
because from knowing comes caring
and from caring comes change."