Sir David Attenborough backs new report on plastic pollution

Published on 14 May 2019

Sir David Attenborough has backed a new report revealing the stark health impacts of plastic pollution and rubbish on world’s poorest people.  The report has been co-authored by international relief and development agency Tearfund, conservation charity Fauna and Flora International, IDS and waste management charity WasteAid.

The report No Time to Waste: Tackling the Plastic Pollution Crisis Before it’s Too Late highlights that:

  • One person dies every 30 seconds in developing countries from from illnesses and diseases like diarrhoea, malaria and cancers caused by living near uncollected waste and plastic pollution.
  • Open-air burning of plastic and rubbish in developing countries adds to carbon emissions contributing to climate change.
  • Multinational companies selling single-use plastic in developing countries must make fundamental changes to business models to halt health crisis

Sir David Attenborough said of the report that ‘it’s one of the first to highlight the impacts of plastic pollution…on the world’s poorest people’.

Replacing our throwaway economy with a circular one

Patrick Schröder, Research Fellow at Institute for Development Studies, and co-author of the report said:

“Plastic pollution is damaging our planet and our lives. The current model of ‘take, make, and waste’  is unsustainable. Businesses, governments and citizens need to embrace a ‘circular economy’ that promotes sustainable consumption and production and reduces environmental impacts.

“There are a growing number of examples of the circular economy in action – particularly across Africa and Asia – and we need to learn from these initiatives to inform and scale future efforts to tackle this pressing global challenge.”

Dr Schröder has written extensively on the circular economy – an economic model that is regenerative and restorative by design, minimises waste and generates new value. As illustrated in his new book The Circular Economy and the Global South – Sustainable Lifestyles and Green Industrial Development the circular economy offers solutions to achieving sustainable employment, health, urbanisation and green industrialisation.


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