Sir David Attenborough’s new TV series — the “Blue Planet II” — has already proved to be an awe-inspiring and educational tool to spread the message about plastic pollution in our oceans. 

But now, the team has been revealed to have gone one step further while filming. 

“The #BluePlanet2 team collected every piece of plastic they came across while filming,” revealed BBC Earth on Twitter.

“Wherever the team saw plastic floating they would collect it up, sometimes it was first filmed then collected out the ocean,” the tweet read.  

Take action: Call on the UK Prime Minister to Protect the Oceans

The Blue Planet series, created by veteran broadcaster Attenborough, focusses on how our oceans are changing — with an emphasis on the impact that humans are having. 

And the team are also trying to persuade others to follow suit, with the #2MinuteBeachClean campaign which asks volunteers to help pick up litter in their community. 

Sir David has already spoken out about the “heartbreaking” examples of plastic pollution that the team documented while filming the series. 

Read more: Sir David Attenborough’s New Series Will Show ‘Heartbreaking’ Scene of Birds Feeding Baby Chicks Plastic

At the launch of the series in September, Attenborough revealed that teams had recorded seabirds feeding their chicks with scraps of plastic

“There is a shot of the young [albatross] being fed, and what comes out of the beak of the adult?” said Sir David, talking to Greenpeace before the series launch. “Not sand-eels, not fish, and not squid, which is what they mostly eat, but plastic. It’s heartbreaking. Heartbreaking.” 

More than 8 million tonnes of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year, and by 2050, it is predicted that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. 

Read more: Shocking Photos Show Extent of Plastic Pollution in Caribbean

Plastic in the ocean acts as a magnet for pollutants. Toxins that wash into bodies of water — for example, agricultural pesticides and chemicals from industrial plants — latch onto plastic. And plastic in the water is then eaten by marine animals. 

It is already affecting our food chain. The average person who eats seafood swallows an estimated 11,000 pieces of microplastic every year, according to researchers at the University of Ghent. 

And Attenborough hopes that his series will provide a wake-up call and communicate the message that we need to act now against plastic pollution. 

Read more: These Sunglasses Are Cleaning Up the World’s Oceans One Pair at a Time

“We may think we live a long way from the oceans but we don’t. What we actually do here… has a direct effect on the oceans and what the oceans do then reflects back on us,” he said

“It is one world. And it’s in our care,” he continued. “For the first. time in the history of humanity, for the first time in 500 million years, one species has the future in the palm of its hands. I just hope it realises that that is the case.” 

Global Citizen campaigns to achieve the Global Goals, including the goal to improve life below water. You can join us by taking action here


Defend the Planet

Sir David Attenborough’s ‘Blue Planet II’ Team Pick Up Every Bit of Litter They Find in the Ocean

By Jana Sepehr  and  Imogen Calderwood