The International Sustainability Unit meeting discussed “Keeping Plastics and Their Value in the Economy and Out of the Ocean” and heard speakers from WRAP and The Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
“The nightmare result of eight million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year is set to get worse rather than better. We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue.”
During his speech, Prince Charles said that the challenge with plastics is “extremely grave and urgent”, however, he said he finds encouragement in that the issue is now “very much on the global agenda and in the public consciousness”.
He went on to say that aside from technical issues relating to the recyclability and recovery of plastics, coordination is vital and stressed the importance of initiatives across different industries working together.
“It seems to me to be essential that raw material providers, processers, designers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, consumers and waste management bodies need to be working to the same plan, and will need support from policy-makers as well,” he said.
“I am beginning to find some encouragement from the fact that a more integrated and joined-up approach is starting to unfold.”
He went on to say that the responsible use and re-use of plastic is similar to so many other environmental issues in that they are discussed and negotiated at a “global level”, but require individual action and local commitments “truly to enact change at the end of the day”.
He said even though the matter of plastic debris in the environment and ocean is now on the agenda, “we have to keep it there”.
“This is the key,” he said. “The nightmare result of eight million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year is set to get worse rather than better. We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue.”
HRH The Prince of Wales established the International Sustainability Unit to facilitate consensus on how to resolve some of the key environmental challenges facing the world – including deforestation, sustaining the marine environment and ways to maintain ecosystem resilience while achieving development goals.