Ben Fogle swims through ‘horrific’ plastic soup in ocean

Explorer and television presenter Ben Fogle has swum through a vast slick of plastic soup in the Indian Ocean to highlight the pollution crisis threatening our seas.

Fogle was filmed swimming in the location where blue whales come to feed on huge quantities of krill for their survival. He described what he saw as “truly horrifying”.

The footage will be used as part of a major cinema production to raise awareness of the crisis unfolding in all five of the world’s oceans, as well as seas and rivers, as a result of man’s 150-year obsession with plastic.

Charity Plastic Oceans has commissioned the film as part of its Project Ocean campaign. The charity first gathered evidence about the seriousness of the problem in 2009 as part of a scientific expedition to collect plastic waste.

The team is specifically investigating ‘skinny whale syndrome’ where it is thought that many whales are failing to achieve their maximum weight because of the levels of marine debris they are consuming.

Samples of tomato-red whale poo are being collected as part of a scientific investigation into the levels of toxins now being consumed by marine mammals.

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who is supporting the Plastic Oceans campaign, has urged manufacturers to take their share of responsibility by making it easier to recycle and helping to finance ways of ensuring it is effectively disposed of.

He said: “We have to act now to repair some of the appalling damage that we’ve done to our oceans. There is no such thing as away because plastic is so permanent that when we cast it into the ocean it does not go away.”

Maxine Perella

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