David Attenborough says plastic pollution outcry makes Blue Planet II “a job worth doing”

Blue Planet II focused the world's attention on the horrific impact of plastic pollution

National Television Awards - David Attenborough

Blue Planet II’s devastating footage of poisoned stillborn whales and turtles trapped in plastic bags has led to a public outcry, with consumers vowing to cut down on plastic waste and the UK government promising concrete action.

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And that, says Sir David Attenborough, makes it a “job worth doing”.

The BBC documentary series was recognised with the Impact Award at the NTAs, for highlighting the effects of eight million tonnes of plastic that end up in the world’s seas and oceans each year.

Sperm whale in Blue Planet II
Sperm whale in Blue Planet II (BBC)

Prime Minister Theresa May called Blue Planet II “public service broadcasting at its finest” and pledged to tackle plastic waste, and conversations began about plastic bag charges and disposable coffee cups.

Speaking backstage, Attenborough told RadioTimes.com: “We hoped that it would make an impression, but the attention that it’s gained around the world has been extraordinary. So we’re very lucky.”

Talking about the government’s response, he added: “Well, it makes one think that that’s a job worth doing. It wasn’t trivial, it’s important, and people are taking notice, and I’m glad they are because it is a big problem.”

The naturalist, 91, also delivered a moving acceptance speech at the ceremony on behalf of the entire production team for Blue Planet II.

“What we were all trying to do is to raise an issue that is of great importance, not only to this country but worldwide,” he said.

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“It’s what we are doing to our planet. If our television programmes have helped stir the consciences of people around the world, and that we are going to do something to protect our beautiful world, then all of us will be very pleased.”