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Blue Planet II is inspiring people to give up plastic—and you should join in

Blue Planet II is inspiring people to give up plastic—and you should join in
A common starfish rising up in order to spawn in coastal waters close to Bergen Norway, in Planet Earth: Blue Planet II, 2018. [Photo: Espen Rekdal/BBC America]

Nature documentary series Blue Planet II has convinced its parent company, the BBC, to ban all plastic cups, utensils, and containers by 2020–and others are joining in the cause.

In the series, narrator Sir David Attenborough asked that people around the world begin taking plastic pollution more seriously, and the BBC is answering the call. “Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic,” said Tony Hall, director general of the BBC. “We all need to do our bit to tackle this problem, and I want the BBC to lead the way. Scrapping throwaway plastic cups and cutlery is the first step, and with our plan I hope we can have a BBC free of single-use plastic altogether.”

The BBC is immediately banning plastic cups and utensils, before moving on to plastic containers in 2019. According to the U.K. news outlet, nearly two million plastic cups are used by BBC visitors and staff each year. That is just the tip of the plastic iceberg that floats around the sea, unfortunately. Each year, 400 million tons of plastic is produced and 40% of it is single-use, meaning it is only used once before being thrown away. (We’re looking at you straws.) Much of that ends up in the ocean.

The BBC is not alone. Not only has the Queen herself given up plastic, but Blue Planet II has inspired people across the world to try going plastic-free. Mashable reports that some people are foregoing plastic for the 40 days of Lent, spurred on by Attenborough and the #PlasticFreeLent hashtag. It’s an easy way to discover how easy it is to help save the planet.

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