In an interview with Vanity Fair ahead of his 70th birthday on November 14th, Prince Charles has said that he warned about the dangers of plastic over 40 years ago though he explained that at the time he was dismissed as “out of touch” and “anti-science.”
In the interview, The Prince of Wales explains that it was hard to put his head “above the parapet” throughout the 1970s as he tried to express his views on the danger of failing to protect the environment. Prince Charles explained that he felt it was down to him to help find solutions to the problems facing humanity, including climate change and indeed plastic in the oceans.
Prince Charles recalled, “In putting my head above the parapet on these issues, and trying to remind people of their long term, timeless relevance – never mind trying to do something about them – I found myself in conflict with the conventional outlook which, as I discovered, is not exactly the most pleasant situation to find yourself.”
The Prince continued, “One of my duties has been to find solutions to vast challenges we face over accelerating climate change. However, it seems to take forever to alert people to the scale of the challenge. Over 40 years ago I remember making a speech about the problems of plastic and other waste, but at that stage nobody was really interested and I was considered old fashioned, out of touch and anti-science.”
The problem of plastic waste and the damage it does to our oceans has become increasingly apparent in the last few years. Earlier this week in the Autumn Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced a new tax on plastics that cannot be recycled.
The British Government are also consulting on banning plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds. A plastic carrier bag charge was introduced in Britain in 2015, over six billion carrier bags have been removed from circulation each year since the charge began.
While steps are being taken to tackle the growing problem, Prince Charles warned that there is still a long way to go to defeat the problem of plastic.