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BPF’s Davis defends plastics on BBC’s Newsnight

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BPF’s Davis defends plastics on BBC’s Newsnight

January 26
10:38 2013

British Plastic Federation’s Peter Davis appeared on BBC’s Newsnight programme last night defending the plastics industry on a report about plastics in the oceans

Last night’s (29 January) BBC’s Newsnight programme tackled the issue of ‘plastics in the oceans’. The programme described how tiny fragments of plastic known as micro-plastic were being found in the oceans and discussed the impact of these fragments on fish and wildlife.

In the programme, BPF director general Peter Davis was interviewed by BBC Newsnight science editor Susan Watts and provided an industry voice on the issue. He was asked what the plastic industry was doing to tackle the issue.

Valuable resource’

Although heavily edited, Davis said: “We are unhappy that there are plastics in the ocean. The plastic industry does not leave plastic waste on beaches or illegally dump them in the sea. We need it back – it’s a valuable resource.

“First and foremost we need it for recycling but we also see it as a valuable source of heat and power in energy-from-waste combustion.”

The programme also showed a team from the BBC’s Natural History Unit showing how discarded plastic was ending up in the island north west of Hawaii. They said that they discovered dead albatrosses with plastic found in their stomachs.

National Oceanography Centre marine expert Simon Boxall was also interviewed. He said: “There’s been a lot of research in the US looking at how the plastic gets into the food chain, and certainly it’s been shown that it gets into bi-valves, mussels and oysters on the seabed, and it does have an effect on them.”

Plymouth University marine scientist Richard Thompson added: “The question we do want to address is that a problem from the point of view of the animals concerned, in individuals that are eating plastic, either from the point of view of the physical presence of the plastic, or the potential for chemical transport?”

Watts asked if that means there is a concern for people who eat the flesh of the fish, if those chemicals have found their way into the animal.

“It’s really an unknown,” Thompson replied.

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