Onboard the Beluga II
Last week I had the privilege to sail along the east coast of Scotland on board Greenpeace’s ship the Beluga II. This is the start of a two-month expedition documenting and investigating the impact of plastic in some of the most stunning and biodiverse areas of the UK.
It was almost eight years ago, during a voyage across the Marañon River in the Peruvian Amazon, that the contrast between the flowing beauty of nature and the polluting permanence of plastic struck me deeply, leading me to make a commitment to dedicate my life to the protection of this wonderful planet earth.
The humbling sight of pink dolphins swimming alongside our ship and the sun rising and setting in tune with the continual dance of life, was shattered by the appearance of floating plastic bottles and other rubbish that, I realised then, would outlive not only us on that ship, but many generations to come.
Almost eight years later, though physically thousands of miles away from where this journey started for me, I am excited to be working for Greenpeace as it sets off on this expedition aiming to build evidence and understanding of the devastating impact plastic pollution is having on our oceans and marine life.
On this first leg of the journey, we were welcomed by the Scottish Seabird Centre, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, and Scottish Natural Heritage – to visit two spectacular islands. The Bass Rock is home to over 150,000 gannets and the Isle of May is a sanctuary for more than 40,000 puffins, as well as vast numbers of Razorbills, Guillemots and Shags.
Such an astonishing number of birds gathered together, flying, swimming, nesting, feeding, is an enchanting image that will stay with me forever. At the same time, I won’t forget the sight of plastic bottles, plastic bags and other plastic packaging, again breaking the spectacle. Once more, I felt disheartened knowing that the birds will come and go, but those pieces of now useless plastic will remain there for centuries.
But this time, I don’t feel alone.
Today, I am part of a growing movement, alongside Greenpeace, made up of different organisations, groups and individuals standing up to the big corporations like Coca-Cola, who are creating these polluting and almost indestructible single-use plastics.
Together, we are demanding that these companies take responsibility for the toxic legacy they are leaving behind, as well as asking governments to pass legislations that would help once and for all, stop the flow of plastics into the oceans.
Change can be achieved and we all have a role to play – I hope that you join us. Follow us in the next stages of the Beluga Expedition as we continue to shed light on this issue and help spread the word. #EndOceanPlastics