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Prince Charles warns that 'plastic in now on the menu' due to the amount ingested by fish

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 06/10/2017 Victoria Ward

Video provided by Sky News

The Prince of Wales has warned that “plastic is on the menu” due to the increasing amounts found in fish caught for the dinner table.

He said decisive action must be urgently taken to deal with plastic pollution in order to save the world’s marine life and oceans, stating that it may not be too late to turn the tide.

“The eight million tonnes of plastic that enter the sea every year - through our own doing I might add - is now almost ubiquitous”, the prince told a global conference on safeguarding the world's oceans.

"For all the plastic that we have produced since the 1950s that has ended up in the ocean is still with us in one form or another, so that wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild-caught fish you eat will contain plastic.

"Plastic is indeed now on the menu."

The Prince warned that the growing threat to the world's marine ecology had reached a critical point and that the irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef should act as a "serious wake-up call" for all nations.

He told delegates at the Our Ocean summit in Malta it was crucial to create a circular economy that allows plastics to be "recovered, recycled and reused instead of created, used and then thrown away” but said the “sense of urgency” was still lacking.

Each year more than 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally, of which 10 per cent will end up in the sea,  the equivalent of a rubbish truck of waste every minute.

A report published last year by the World Economic Forum estimated that there is now a 1:2 ratio of plastic to plankton and, left unchecked, plastic will outweigh fish by 2050 .By 2050 that will increase to four trucks every minute.

Chemicals leach into the water, and it has been shown that humans who eat seafood ingest 11,000 pieces of microplastic each year .

The Prince of Wales highlighted the "unimaginably painful" decision Canada took 25 years ago of closing a fishery, to protect northern cod stocks, that was on the verge of collapse after over fishing and mismanagement.Last month, David Attenborough launched a new series of Blue Planet, which highlights what he calls the “catastrophic effects” of the release of an estimated five trillion pieces of plastic in the world's seas.

The heir to the throne added: "Surely we must take equally far-sighted steps to deal with plastic pollution or illegal and over exploitative fishing, or indeed ocean acidification, especially as our ability to fine-tune and accurately monitor implementation has been hugely enhanced by advances in satellite capability?"


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