Sir David Attenborough has backed a Christian charity report revealing the stark impacts of plastic pollution on the world’s poorest people.
The No Time to Waste report, created by Tearfund in collaboration with Fauna & Flora International, the Institute of Development Studies and WasteAid, found that one person dies every 30 seconds in developing countries from diseases caused by plastic pollution and rubbish.
It found that each year between 400,000 and a million people are dying in developing countries from illnesses and diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and cancers caused by living near uncollected waste and plastic pollution.
The report calls on multinational companies to fundamentally change their business models by committing to reporting the number of single-use plastic items they distribute in developing countries by 2020, and halving this by 2025.
“This report is one of the first to highlight the impacts of plastic pollution not just on wildlife but also on the world’s poorest people,” Sir David said.
“It is high time we turn our attention fully to one of the most pressing problems of today – averting the plastic pollution crisis – not only for the health of our planet, but for the wellbeing of people around the world.
“Humankind’s ability to produce this material on an industrial scale far outstrips our ability to manage it, and as a consequence plastic is choking our rivers and seas,” the naturalist and wildlife campaigner said.
“We need leadership from those who are responsible for introducing plastic to countries where it cannot be adequately managed, and we need international action to support the communities and governments most acutely affected by this crisis.”
Writing in the i newspaper, Sir David also warned that plastic pollution is an ‘unfolding catastrophe’ that we ‘ignore at our peril’.
His warning came amid revelations that plastic waste was recently found during the deepest ocean dive on record, which saw explorer Victor Vescovo descend nearly 11km down into the Pacific Ocean.
The journey to extreme depths of the Mariana Trench encountered new species of sea creatures, as well as a plastic bag and sweet wrappers.
Picture: Sir David Attenborough attending the global premiere of Netflix’s Our Planet, held at the Natural History Museum, London. (Ian West/PA).