Let’s ban single-use plastics says Liz Bonnin

By: Clare Fischer
Date posted: 1 October 2018

Scientist and TV presenter Liz Bonnin has called for a ban on single-use plastics in the UK ahead of a 90-minute documentary ‘Drowning in Plastic’, which she presents tonight on BBC1. Bonnin told the Radio Times, the show will be “a hard watch and a hard pill to swallow.”

Plastic Bag underwater
© Rich Carey / Shutterstock

When it comes to all single-use products, I just think if we can live without them, we should live without them

Liz Bonnin,
Presenter - Drowning in Plastic
Liz Bonnin

The documentary will look at the dangers and struggles of wildlife in the ocean and the extent of the problem of our polluted seas.

Liz Bonnin has accused industries and politicians of not doing enough to tackle plastic pollution: “When it comes to all single-use products, I just think if we can live without them, we should live without them.

“There is no kind of middle ground any more. So, can we live without plastic bottles? Yes, we can.”

Bonnin told the Radio Times that individual consumer choice alone was not going to solve the problem of plastic pollution. She cited Costa Rica – which has just announced its aim to ban all single use plastics by 2021: “I have to ask, why isn’t the UK doing that?

“Some of our plastic is absolutely a valuable part of our society. The question there is, do we make up that plastic with less toxic chemicals? Also, can we make that plastic realistically recyclable?

“Forty percent of the plastic that’s prevalent in our society is single-use stuff that we can absolutely live without. If Costa Rica can do it, why can’t we do it immediately?

“This phasing-out conversation makes me angry after everything I’ve seen. There is no more time to phase anything out.”

The presenter said attempts by the general public to limit their use of single-use plastics such as straws and coffee cups “hugely laudable”, but the impetus for change needs to be on governments.

“I do feel that the onus has been placed a lot on the consumer and that’s only part of the problem,” she said.

“So, for example, if you’re going to increase the plastic bag charge to 10p from 5p, again, the onus is on the consumer. Why is the industry still making plastic bags? Why is America investing 180 billion dollars in new plastic factories?

Liz Bonnin says the most striking thing for her about the documentary was the sheer scale of the problem: “Even when I was researching this project, I didn’t really get a handle on how pervasive plastic is, and how badly it’s been affecting our wildlife without us realising.”

Drowning In Plastic will air on BBC One, tonight, October 1st at 8.30pm

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Did you know?…

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On UK beaches levels of litter have doubled in the past 20 years

Every day millions of microplastics enter the sea from personal care products such as scrubs and toothpastes