Listen: Plastic pollution peril, symptom of worlds out-of-control chemistry experiment: top explorer
"Explorer poll rose is usually found in the world's wildest places where he works with scientists to find solutions to climate change. But for the last two weeks, though, he's been in downtown Geneva in Switzerland at a major u n conference to encourage countries to ban widely used toxic substances and plastic pollutants. He's been talking to Daniel Johnson from you and news about what the average person can do to make a difference. So I'm here at the conference apart is here in Geneva for basil Rotterdam, Stockholm Convention because of my interest in discovering pollutants in the wall places. There's something about it. You're in these places. Imagine the beautiful monochrome polar life is not many colors. It's restful, and peaceful and exciting at the same time or being at CEO being on beaches wherever we are in. We're in the world's most pristine places, and yet you turned the corner. And we discover pollution either. What is invisible such? As all of our water samples, we take on all of our experts all over the world contain nanoparticles plastic. We can't see it. But we know it's in that water sample or just a few weeks ago. I came out from the jungle in Costa Rica, the Corcovado why it's an amazing place four different kinds of monkeys and sloths and birds of all kinds come out from that were everything was pristine, and as soon as we hit the beach. What did we see plastic is a disaster? So I'm here to help understand and communicate what is going on with persistent organic pollutant. You've talked about persistent organic pollutants or pops. There are a few of them that are going to be or hopefully going to be listed as a banned substances. Let's talk about if you them one of them is he f- a do you notice as well as penta deca fluoro-organic acid apparently easy for you and dictaphone which is an easy one. That's a pesticide. That's used in farming fatigue, vegetables and cotton, so widely used highly toxic. What are you hoping to get from this conference of? Parties meeting here in Geneva meets every two years while I'm really hoping that we get these chemicals listed and indeed band. I mean who would wanna live in a sort of giant global out of control chemistry experiment, and but for the good work being done here the counselor parties, that's exactly how we would be living. So I'm hoping that they get listed properly and then managed properly in the thing with the thing with the conventions is they provide a sort of comedy nominators shared platform for leaders and decision makers and industry to make smart informed decisions. Right. So how many leaders are we talking about? I mean, how many people have signed up to the Basel Rotterdam stock bottles lives. One hundred ninety six Rotterdam is one hundred and fifty nine and Stockholm is one hundred eighty one. So it's a force to be reckoned with. It's a global network of smart people really making a difference keeping us safe that brings me to another thing that I remember you saying while ago, how are there parallels with aspects doses? And today's unseen threats with this part of the. We do here is to make the invisible visible. You see something like PF away. And this unfortunately falls into this soup of acronyms one. Immediately turns off one of the good bits of work. They do here the council. Parties is trying to decode all that. So that we can understand it properly as everywhere it's in cookware. It's in sofas. It's in foam for firefighting and all the rest of it. And this kind of thing is out there. But we don't know it. But for the work of the firefighters, it was the firefighters let the PF L LA campaign because they were using it regularly. Of course in their firefighting foam, it's usually -ffective and their colleagues. We're getting sick too, many of them getting sick, and it became blindingly obvious. There was something wrong with this. So that's what's driven the point to come on. Let's get this stuff listed, and then banned simply with a specialist. It's in buildings. It's in our brake drums on cars. It said some of our pot work and all the rest of it. And I have a little bit of a history with a specialist because I was an apprentice for Motor Company in nineteen sixty. As in England. And we used a specis to insulate the tools from the big machines. And I remember then we would drilling machine and then we'll take an air hose and blow it I'm believable. Then a few years later still in apprenticeship it was replaced by something else. I forget the name of and we were still blowing around June that period. I suddenly learned that in the nineteen thirties as best as was a regulated substance because of the healthy facts were documented so as taken all of these years for people to say come on. We've got to do something about it. And I met some people outside who actually victims of aspects doses. And it was quite moving to meet them and realize they're here petitioning for smart decisions to be made in that illustrates one of the many challenges that counselor parties face one of the things that we've learned from this conference of parties is that plastics can absorb these persistent organic pollutants such as DD dog sins that frequently found in marine litter. So how is that initiative coming along here at the conference of parties to clean up marine? Plastics. It's interesting, isn't it that now the plastics awareness has reached such a high point? I've never seen anything like it with the global environmental issue. I mean, everybody go to any school in industry, anywhere. People are talking about plastic tickly, marine, plastics. And I'm delighted they're focused on the way that plastics can become sort of super polluters. You see the big things at know. I've been in remote places with the most perfect tuna blue water, we call it look at that. And the reefs of I live sharks everywhere, you know, top predators amazing life, and all of a sudden a whole bunch of plastic will come floating by raft of it. But we should know we must let people know is that as well as the big lumps plastic drifting by wants to have been seen long enough and begin to breakdown they become like, magnets and become pockets of super pollution. Some absolutely delighted that the council parties are focusing on marine, plastic and the first thing we can do is stop pudding as much plastic in the series. We do is no excuse for it. And I've seen that change in behavior. Now, we will. Wouldn't think of putting an empty water bottle on the beach and leaving? It would we we wouldn't think of putting a plastic box or food container somewhere in over full litter-bin and let it blow into the sea. There is a change in our human behavior, an industrial behaviors changing, we're looking all of the world's rivers and with the benefit of remote. Sensing we can now watch this material coming out of certain rivers. So that means we know where to go and stop it and start finding sensible alternatives law sensible alternative, I'm just back from Lubiana where I was in a plant where they take hundreds of thousands of abandoned fishing nets and turn them by great chemistry, turn them into nylon. Which is exactly the same as oil on. And I make luxury goods from it says leading through example and profit making people love it. I was going to ask you about what we could actually do normal people in the street people who haven't been taps inspired as you have by the natural wonders of the world, and maybe the solutions. You've seen here and there and the ones that you've just talked about what can people in the street do every day? Well, it is worth looking at the sustainable development goals. Look at target twelve point five which is all about substantially reducing the amount of waste, we produce and use more recycling and the way to do that. I mean, we all get frustrated don't me go out of your house. And you you go to put your plastic there, and you can there, and you you traveling on the or do these things and there's nowhere obvious to recycle them. Then we must realize every single action that we do works. Some neighbors of mine hate it. And they don't recycle anything. So I do it for them. You know, drives them crazy keeps me saying you gotta do something about this amount of white. What can we do? Learn about do local litter picks raise awareness with the counselors vote for the right people who have a mind by things that fit those goals. Similarly, you may work in industry and the decisions you make in the boardroom should be based on the sustainable development goals and say, well, look if we did this with make this much money, keep the. Shareholder? If we did that we'd make a good amount of money, and we would help answer some of these environmental. Why not changing our values a bit? You get the whole planet looking at something like that. We've got it on very optimistic about achieving the sustainable development goals all of them."