Plastic now on the menu amid growing threat to marine ecology - Charles

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The growing threat to the world's marine ecology has reached a critical point where plastics are "now on the menu", the Prince of Wales has told a global conference on safeguarding the world's oceans.

Charles highlighted how the waste material is increasingly found in fish caught for the dinner table - a worsening issue researchers have claimed will lead to the sea containing more plastics than fish, by weight, by 2050.

The irreversible damage to the Great Barrier Reef is a "serious wake-up call" for nations, he said in his keynote speech at the global Our Ocean summit, and what is needed is a circular economy which allows plastics to be "recovered, recycled and reused instead of created, used and then thrown away".

Charles told delegates at the conference, staged in Malta: "As many of you know so well, the eight million tonnes of plastic that enter the sea every year - through our own doing I might add - is now almost ubiquitous.

"For all the plastic that we have produced since the 1950s that has ended up in the ocean is still with us in one form or another, so that wherever you swim there are particles of plastic near you and we are very close to reaching the point when whatever wild-caught fish you eat will contain plastic. Plastic is indeed now on the menu."

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has published a report with the World Economic Forum which claims that, by 2050, the oceans are expected to contain more plastics than fish, by weight.

And earlier in the year Henderson Island, a tiny uninhabited coral atoll in the eastern South Pacific, made headlines after nearly 18 tonnes of plastic washed up on the remote outcrop.