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Drowning in Plastic

  • 2018
  • Documentary and factual
  • News and current affairs


Trillions of pieces of plastic are choking the very lifeblood of the Earth and every marine animal, from the smallest plankton to the largest mammals, is being affected. In this 90-minute special, wildlife biologist Liz Bonnin visits scientists working at the cutting-edge of plastics research and joins work with some of the world's leading marine biologists and campaigners to discover the true dangers of plastic in the oceans and what it means for the future of all life on the planet, including humans



Liz Bonnin explores the huge problem of plastic waste choking the world’s rivers and oceans in a one-off special that is almost too distressing to watch. In the opening scenes, she joins rescue teams in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand as they help seabirds whose parents have unwittingly fed them plastic: the record is 260 pieces (often bits of bottle tops) in the stomach of a single shearwater chick. Bonnin also witnesses a mile-long raft of plastic waste on an Indonesian river and sees whales in New England caught in fishing gear.

There are more positive stories, too – including fascinating attempts to clean up our oceans using a sort of giant Pac-Man. But then she hits us with another dizzying statistic, such as the fact that every minute around the world we buy a million plastic bottles and two million plastic bags.

In the end, the picture is overwhelming, almost despair-inducing, but as Bonnin says at one point, almost weeping, “This is real. This is what’s going on.”

How to watch




PresenterLiz Bonnin
DirectorTom Watt-Smith
Executive producerDominique Walker


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