DORSET Wildlife Trust’s chief executive is calling on the county to do more to become plastic-free.

Simon Cripps is lobbying for change before it becomes too late for our oceans and environment.

He said: “Conservationists have been warning of the problems of plastic waste, especially in our oceans, for years but were making little headway against the huge pro-plastic lobby. It took just one programme fronted by Sir David Attenborough to change everything and finally break the impasse. 

“Blue Planet 2 showed various threats to our oceans in a very non-accusatory, appealing way, but it was the dead whale calf and the plastics that were taken into everyone’s hearts.

“Making progress in conservation is often a series of steps: identify the issue, suggest a solution, get sufficient profile to take action and then the action itself.  Blue Planet 2 really gave this issue the profile it so desperately needed because the scale of problem was already well known.”

In the UK alone 35 million plastic bottles are discarded every day – a staggering 12.7 billion per year - and a total of 91 per cent of all plastics are not recycled.

Annually, approximately 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide with more than one million bags used every minute. It takes 500 to 1,000 years for plastics to degrade.

Mr Cripps said: “I think there is an awful lot we can do to make a difference pretty quickly.  Already councils are doing a great deal to recycle plastics and, at the very least (and it is the very least), ensure they stay within landfills. 

“We have to play our part by buying less in plastic packages. That means refilling preferably non-plastic water bottles. That scheme championed by Whitbread and water companies around the country to top up water bottles at various shops and cafes is a great start.

“Take reusable plastic bags to the shops.  They are a lot more useful and suitable than nasty, weak plastic bags anyway. 

"The 5p tax on bags has had a dramatic improvement on the state of our own beaches, with the number of discarded bags declining by half.  It just shows what can be done.”

He added: “I believe though that this is just scratching at the symptom not the cause. We need to change the way we think about disposable products.  It should be no longer acceptable to buy products wrapped in single use plastics, except perhaps a small amount of thin films. Maybe not even that.”