SYDNEY, Australia: A new documentary “Protecting Paradise” investigating how the ocean plastic pollution issue is impacting remote paradises, reveals that one ton of plastic debris can be found for every kilometre of coastline in Far North Queensland.
The documentary, a joint production effort by Corona, environmental charity Parley for the Oceans and National Geographic, shows an in-depth view of the global plastic pollution crisis in one of Australia’s beach paradise regions – which is also among the most polluted stretches of coastlines.
“For many Australians, marine plastic pollution can be out of sight, out of mind due to the pristine perception of our beaches,” said Andy Vance, spokesperson for Corona Australia. “We’re on a mission to protect these paradises and plastic pollution is the most visible issue affecting paradise today.”
To complete the fact-finding mission, the team enlisted the expert help of ocean conservationists and scientists, including model, marine biologist and science communicator, Laura Wells; award-winning photographer and filmmaker Michaela Skovranova; and Parley Director in Australia, Christian Miller.
The group were shocked by their discoveries in Australia’s remote, uninhabited region of Far North Queensland. Against the backdrop of ocean blue water, the white sand was completely littered with plastic, from water bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, shards of plastic, a multitude of microplastic, toothbrushes, nylon rope and commercial fishing gear and much more.
“They are uninhabited islands, no one lives there and the plastic is getting out there,” shares marine biologist Laura Wells at the film’s press screening in Sydney.
“Plastic production is said to double over the next 20 years to around 600 million tonnes per year and the problem is probably going to get worse and the issue is coming mainly from land-based plastic and we need to make sure people understand that.”
According to research commissioned by Corona, around 1,580kg is dumped in Australia’s oceans every hour with 74 percent of the Australian population underestimating how much plastic enters our oceans.
“Each year, nine million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in our ocean,” said National Geographic’s Kael Hudson.
“While this is a global problem, it’s equally important for us to educate Australians on the plastic waste issue in our own backyard. This documentary serves as the perfect awareness piece to Australian audiences in shining a light on both the plastic waste affecting Far North Queensland and the amazing work organisations such as Corona and Parley are doing to protect paradise.”
Educating the public is crucial to encouraging large-scale behavioural change. Findings show that 89 percent of Australians will make an effort to reduce single-use plastic usage when confronted with the amount of plastic entering waterways and beaches.
At the press screening, marine biologist Wells shares that participating in beach cleanups was what inspired her plastic-free ocean advocacy. “Even though I studied marine biology, the way in which I really got my hands dirty and my mind around what was happening was through local beach cleanups and meeting other people with the same mentality and understanding exactly what was on my local beach and the things that we use each and every single day that ends up there.”
As part of the Corona and Parley for the Ocean’s 100 Island Protected initiative to bring greater awareness to the ocean plastic epidemic and encourage people to embrace disposable plastic-free living, they will also be launching Volunteers for the Ocean – a national beach clean-up and educational series which will cover 16 beaches across Australia. The programme will launch in February.
“Our research shows that many Aussies feel helpless as individuals when it comes to making an impact on this incredibly large global plastic pollution issue. However, when given the opportunity to come together as a community, they feel a sense of power to take action and make a real difference,” added Vance.
Since joining forces and launching the 100 Islands Protected initiative in 2017, Corona and Parley have already produced positive results with 25 islands now under protection in the Maldives, Australia, Chile, Dominican Republic and Indonesia.
National Geographic will be premiering the Corona x Parley “Protecting Paradise” documentary at 8:30pm on Sunday 27th January.
The full length documentary will be made available on the National Geographic website from Tuesday 29th January. Watch the doco here.
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