A surf photographer, business owner and father of two is seeing more and more plastic wash ashore his beloved home beach. In a bid to discover the route of this problem he embarks on a journey of discovery to educate himself and understand more about the problem. Along the way, he discovers some alarming issues.
Plastic Pollution is a very real threat to the future of our planet, the animals that inhabit our oceans and ultimately the human race. The problem is far worse than it seems on the surface and we need to act now to ensure we protect the future for ourselves and our planet.
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I've seen a huge increase in the amount of plastic on a daily basis and I really want my kids to grow up having to beach clean every day we now get through 1 million of this type of bottle every minute in that circle is a micro plastic today India produces almost 5.6 million tons of plastic and you plastics take the stage at an international exhibit in Amsterdam the a genius alchemy of coal and oil provides the material ingenious machinery presses and stamps and moles the material into a wide variety of products articles for household use as well as tools for industry the horizons of plastic are lengthening and strengthening to in the world of tomorrow plastics will certainly call the two so my name is Dave Muir I'm a surf school owner surf shop owner a surfer and a father of two I'm here today at seven Cove which is my home where I work it's considered my garden my life and everything I do basically around the ocean here I get legs up so behind me is my home on the cliffs of Gwen ver unfortunately every day to go and surf down there I teach on this beach and the surfs go I've been wandering for 15 years here really really lucky to have the opportunity to kind of live in Cornwall and be passionate about where I am I've got two girls else you're not live the four and three I love that they are involved in the ocean as much as I am more recently but the kids have started to ask questions about the plastic on the beach and the litter we're finding now what's this card for Elsie we don't like the buoy more recently I'm finding plastic in the sea not just in the rocks and on the beach but actually in the water and that's what really worries me because for 15 years I don't think I've seen a single plastic bottle in the ocean now if I've seen it now what's the future going to be like so I'm on a journey of discovery to find out where this bus is coming from the impact on the environment what can be done and really is there a solution the but they cannot see something really excited and one lordy Davidson's hello senior research scientist at Greenpeace is based at the University of Exeter and I've brought some plastics along to find out if you can help me a bit about them tell me a bit more about the properties of the plastics and really more importantly the issue of plastic in the ocean worldwide we're now making somewhere in the region of 330 million tonnes of plastic every year and yet we still somehow see it as a disposable material and it's become a problem that we can only solve by dealing with that issue at source rather than trying to now clean up the environment as the solution so I think we use plastics the issue single-use plastics are a particular problem because we've assumed that they're disposable whereas in fact plastics aren't designed to break down very easily they're going to be around for hundreds of years if not longer so this morning before we came to see you I went down to my local beach and I collected within literally five minutes a handful of plastic I've got a cigarette lighter I've got some some rope I've got cotton bird okay so cigarette lighters sadly that's going to stick around for for hundreds of years and these have been found in the stomach's of of albatross chicks even thousands of miles offshore I mean almost wherever you go these days you'll see plastic pollution and it's a sad fact that whenever we're going to our beaches plastic have become part of that fabric so found a water bottle on the side of the river here how much is it of an issue is this yeah I mean again a big symptom of the plastics problem globally we now get through 1 million of this type of bottle every minute 1 million bottles a minute is a staggering figure for what's more worrying is that these plastics will break down into smaller pieces I'm heading to meet Sarah Nelms a specialist in ocean micro plastics to learn more about her latest work I've been looking through the digestive tracts of marine mammals so they're got basically this is the kind of plastic that most people think of and this was found in the in the stomach of a common dolphin this was actually a one-off I didn't find any other incidences like this but most of the plastic I was finding is not actually visible to the naked eye so in that circle is a micro plastic we're finding my classics in seal poo so that kind of implies that it is passing through that the digestive tract but we don't know what kind of impact it's having on the way through the animal's body and you can see that then you've got amazing eyesight these tiny bits of plastic weren't produced to be that size they have been broken down over time and they're fragmented into smaller and smaller pieces until they're microscopic we okay to have a look at this under their microscope maybe bit noisy okay so what are we looking at here so this is your micro plastic under a microscope so you can actually see it now and this is a particle that's called low-density polyethylene and it's the kind of plastic that we use widely in making carrier bags so this is so what was found in the steel P that we described earlier on it's like should have come from a carrier bag or so what what concerns me more is bigger things that I'll pick up on the beach are things I'm able to remove and they're probably not as in as dangerous is the kind of things you're collecting here so the smaller they are essentially the more impact they can have so the smaller they are the more bioavailable they are to a wider range of animals right from baleen whales right down to microscopic view plankton which are the face of the food chain so if they have an impact on those animals then it affects the whole food chain higher essentially the smaller animal the smaller the piece the more it affects into our food chain language to the predator it's clear that both fish and mammals are eating the plastic that we are introducing I don't yet know how much is entering our oceans and why I want to find out the scale of the issue so I'm heading to a country where plastic pollution has reached a critical level welcome to Mumbai the Gateway of India comes over 20 million people they do this when the most densely populated cities on the planet this is the first leg of my journey and I'm off to meet my first family the chamber family living on a drain right next to plastic the short drive through the bustling city of Mumbai and I'd already seen an incredible amount of plastic but nothing could have prepared if I was about to see Jesus Russ oh my god goodness me that is like in the back of my throat as you see the plastic literally is coming out of the drain the waters followed the plastic they heat the spell oh my god the smell is just like I've traveled I've seen some bits but this is mind-blowing this is the reason why he's come to India to see plastic from houses straight into the river the river flows south to the sea and it's plastic you can see it making its way south as plain as plain as day thinking it's horrible but it's just so heartbreaking little did I know I'm about to meet a family living just a stone's throw away from where I'm stood so we've got grandchildren children I've been smiled out from all angles over here my beautiful little faces and this to me where I live I have a notion that I can go and swim in wouldn't this be nice if this was a river that they could play in and they could kind of you know could swim in the water obviously that's not the case so in the world of the minute and in the UK where I live and plastic is becoming the biggest issue of our generation and we're trying our hardest to actually do something about it the problem with plastic is it survives for hundreds and hundreds of years do you know much about plastics then your plastic I Seneca Teddy said me discover some of the very tops it's a little EDD passing some living at the most about everyone which they generally named the plastic in the letter we can see here is this this plastic this come from your family it's really Annie has no place I picked the debunking Youth ready to put you through the plastic in the sea in the river and it's dealt with by mother nature exactly by ludwig oh there's a vulgar grammar we do dyslexia there's so much plastic entering our drains and rivers it's no wonder we have such a big problem on our hands so I am following this plastic downstream and meeting a local fisherman who remembers a simpler time before plastic it just arrives the fishing village smell is unreal with dried fish everywhere good morning it's just more of what we've seen everywhere else just so much plastic this is wonderful ladies busy drying out prawns but within feet from her is a mountain of plastic again and it's it's it's everywhere it's um it's almost kind of part of the of the floor hello my name's Dave my name is Dave what's your name what's your name oh yeah for sure pleased to meet you Portia so how long have you been fishing will allow me will tell you that with all this plastic is it always been like this but you know so when you were when you were a boy was this beach beautiful could you swim in the water with their children playing on the beach oh boy do you design a but it's awkward yeah I think I really better than we did 11 Galatea to Cueto Portia you seem to have seen so much you're amazing I just I just I wonder what you've envisage for the future of your community whether it's gonna get better or what do you see getting any worse but it is unload there I dare ya break up with the load testing bundle double signal abundance I let the best in one another lastly bundle Brazil I've got as the Sun sets I'm really starting to feel for this community I'm just glad that there's a ray of hope out there fighting for these people Tichina you've brought me here to data-page tell me a little bit about beach warriors beach warriors is my team which is walking for cleaning the other end proper daily Beach since last eight months so last Sunday we have completed 35 weeks of the other probably beach cleanup no one is bothered to look at this Beach because it was a garbage dumping ground so we thought why not make it as a tourist place we clean speech last week was it clean when you left yeah it was definitely clean and last week around 500 volunteers came here and cleaned the beach ten tons of garbage was picked up but it is all it is all given by acid itself we throw it in DC and sea throws back so if today you can see plastic the blame should be on us I mean we're doing sounds amazing but is it a solution is it making a change yes definitely we'll make a change I always say to my people that two hands can do wonders it is like two hands to us in a week is enough for your society so you have to come forward not only for the beach cleanup but you can make aware people about not littering because we are doing it not for the beach cleanup purpose we are doing it so that people will be aware they will be having a fire in them that we should stop littering otherwise we will die some day because of this thing well I'm here can I get involved come because I'm plastered yes yes definitely here the beach is all yours I mean this is so heartbreaking to see this much plastic on a beach like this is crazy and for you to be doing day-in day-out I mean you've obviously made this you know a job we've created you've created something here and I know you're doing out of the goodness of your own heart but it just seems like we're gonna be doing this together now we're a generation that that has to make a difference are you prepared for 50 years of cleaning the beach that is that is an absolutely great question we are not prepared but we are preparing the younger generation to clean their own beach to keep our own country or nation or world clean that is the only message we have to give each and every one we have similar issues you know I see my pension I see it seems clean but I'm picking up plastic all the time here it's an epidemic there is a plastic issue which is far greater than anything I've ever seen I mean when I came to India I expected to see plastic I expect to see litter I was not prepared for this honestly it's it's hard man it's really hard to see it like this and I've got children and and this plastic here is into entering this ocean and the understanding that this plastic could make it anywhere in the world you know I'm picking up plastic from India in England and you know we've got a whole challenge ahead of us and and it is our generation we have to prepare ourselves our children so I suppose the changes now we have to do it my time in India is almost over dr. Roshini is a leading expert in ocean plastics and is concerned about India's future the situation is grim today India produces almost 5.6 million tons of plastic annual World Economic Forum's study mentioned that India contributes almost 60% of all the plastic that reaches our oceans over 500 tonnes of waste reach our seas every single day I think India needs to wake up take responsibility and most certainly as an economic giant start cleaning up its act so if I see this problem I mean it seems like an enormous issue it is and it seems like it to someone looking at it it's almost too big to deal with how how can we how can we deal with it it's smaller bite-sized chunks most of our beaches in Mumbai are cleaned every morning but if you have a look within half a tide the ocean has just spewed everything right back because the volumes of waste and plastic that are in our oceans is enormous we need to just say no we need to say no to plastic we need to look for better alternatives life continued without plastic I know my grandparents and grandparents survived without plastic is there any good news ah yes I think we have to be hopeful why else would we be environmentalist the good news is that the world today is sitting up and recognising plastic to be a major contribution to climate change and global warming studies have shown that plastic does have irreversible impacts on the environment I think the larger question is are we doing too little too late I can't think of a better way or better place to finish my journey in India look around there are thousands of people all coming together the community here is incredible and I set out to make a film about plastic I didn't expect to find happy smiling face people live in side-by-sides with plastic it's an epidemic and it's something that they know about they don't quite understand it yet and I think that's an issue all I do know is that people are the answer they are the solution I was told that two hands can do wonders look how many hands are here today I'm sure there is hope in India I've really loved my time in India and I'm so sad to be leaving this place and it's beautiful people if I have learned anything it's working together is the answer I've been inspired to make a difference and it starts at home I've organized a beach clean at Senen with my friends and local community for me today is about community there are four our refuse reuse we fill recycle see here thanks for joining us on the beach today I'm coming to the end of a bit of a journey I've been filming this documentary I've done a bit of traveling now and I've learnt a lot on my own on my way my worry is what's next and what's been done to kind of correct everything I've been seeing it's a problem that needs global systems to change it's just like climate change really on carbon emissions we've got plastic emissions coming from everywhere so we need to work together and we mustn't outsource the problem just as we're doing with carbon you know we can't put our carbon emissions in China and then blame China all of those carbon emissions we can't export our dirty plastics and recite plates to other developing countries and say it's their problem we've got to work on this together we've got to help other countries build the right systems to control plastics with us and to trap them as I say in the economy and not in the environment this is an important resource comes from oil we're pumping out of the ground around the world in pristine environment so we've got to make sure we can serve it for the future for our children and for our grandchildren so I've come to the end of my journey and I've learned so much about plastic today we've had two hundred people on the beach picking up plastic and a huge difference has been made the community have come together and I'm so grateful for the amount of work that everyone's doing I will still be finding plastic on the beach every single day and it's not going to stop me and my plight to find plastic with my children in my family the truth floats up to the surface and it runs deeper than we care to believe we perfect so where the hell's a sense of urgency diamonds sapphires dancing in shrill so we can see that is easier some pre him meds and match them we can save miss Maelstrom add some wanna live – in green is not when there's still time to worse it is snots you late you turn the tides to make it change before the waves collide it becomes crystal clear where we bind together it's not a stone weak Jenna John easy but only we can't see this man you you