Documentaries

There are some outstanding and award-winning documentaries, news reports and videos on the problem of plastic pollution. Many famous people and celebrities get behind the campaigns to lobby governments, work with industries and encourage the rest of us to help stem the tide of plastic production and pollution: Sir David Attenborough, Prince Charles, Ellen MacArthur and Jeff Bridges to name but a few. Here is a small selection I can highly recommend.


‘Nobody thought this through’, by The Irish Times, April 2017

Scientists at the Marine and Freshwater Research Centre at the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology are trying to find out how plastic pollution is impacting the environment and human health. Video: Kathleen Harris. Watch it here


‘A Plastic Tide’, by Sky News Ocean Rescue, January 2017

This excellent 45 minute documentary is a must see! Available to view online for free, it contains latest research from the UK and abroad. Hard hitting, intelligent, accessible and to the point. It also makes you realise that there are a lot of amazing people out there! Prepare to be crushed, moved and called to action, all at the same time. Read more about Sky News Ocean Rescue here.


‘The Smog of the Sea’, by Jack Johnson

The Smog of the Sea chronicles a 1-week journey through the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea in search of the famous “garbage patches” in the ocean’s gyres. Marine scientist Marcus Eriksen invited onboard an unusual crew to help him study the sea: renowned surfers Keith & Dan Malloy, musician Jack Johnson, spearfisher woman Kimi Werner, and bodysurfer Mark Cunningham become citizen scientists on a mission to assess the fate of plastics in the world’s oceans. Available to stream online for a limited time only. Very watchable and informative!


‘A Plastic Ocean’, by The Plastic Oceans Foundation, January 2017

The UK charity The Plastic Oceans Foundation assembled a team of the world’s top scientists and leading film makers to produce a powerful documentary that will play a key role in sending out the message to the world. The team is headed up by film producer Jo Buxton who was involved in some epic programmes in the past, including Blue Planet, Pacific Abyss, and LIFE.  She brings years of experience of working within the BBC Natural History Unit on wildlife documentaries to the Plastic Oceans programme. The film has won awards and is currently shown wherever people and institutions have organised a showing, including universities, schools, festivals and community cinemas.

“A film that explains the problems about plastic …that message can be spread by a film like this in a remarkable way”  Sir David Attenborough


Nurdle Free Oceans – The Great Nurdle Hunt 2017

Scottish charity Fidra’s first project is The Great Nurdle Hunt. It aims to end further industrial plastic pellet or ‘nurdle’ pollution into Scottish seas. With the support of the local plastic industry Fidra want all companies handling nurdles in Scotland to sign the ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ pledge. With their help we can achieve zero nurdle loss across Scotland and challenge the rest of the UK to do the same. Find out more at www.fidra.org.uk


The New Plastics Economy and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation:

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to the latest report by the World Economic Forum and Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company. Here is an excellent short video: New Plastics Economy Initiative:


Plastic Pollution Coalition – A message from Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges has a message for us. And it’s loud and clear. Do watch this through to the end – otherwise you will only see the depressing bits and miss the practical advice about the little but vital changes we can all make to our daily routines. Show this to your kids – they understand stuff like this intuitively. Thank you to the Plastic Pollution Coalition for this video and their amazing work.