A harrowing new film has revealed the destruction being caused to undiscovered marine life as campaigners call on the government leaders to support their mission to rid the seas of plastic.
The short film, launched by environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), tells the heart-breaking story of an unknown marine animal, which washes up on a stunning, sandy beach.
Within the film, called ‘Creature’, we see a local community coming together to try and save the animal, pulling plastic from its body as children rush to bathe it in sea water and coax it to fight.
From single-use bottles and shopping bags to empty food containers and ghost netting, items drop to the ground as people dig out the harmful pollution in an attempt to help the mysterious ‘creature’ breathe again.
And, for just over three minutes, the film depicts how a community can be shocked into action amid the heart-break of a direct result of human action.
But the ending, and the overriding message, is a stark reminder that even animals that have not yet been discovered, as well as those that have been, are facing the life-threatening realities of plastic pollution -as one sea bird or marine mammal dies every 30 seconds due to plastic pollution (that we know of).
Today, SAS is calling on people in the UK to come together and sign its #GenerationSea petition, which is urging the Prime Minister to introduce new laws and changes to save the seas and the creatures that live within them.
The UK is a unique island nation responsible for an area of ocean 30 times greater than dry land and this creates great opportunities.
It is hoped the petition will encourage the Government to take decisive action before it’s too late by establishing a powerful independent watchdog to enforce environmental targets for government and bug business to account.
And it comes just days after a report highlighted that the ambitious Environmental Bill, set to come into force post-Brexit, is ‘lacking coherence’ and failing to put proper protections in place.
With 95% of the world’s oceans still unexplored, the charity fears that without proper legal intervention, plastic pollution will continue to kill marine life that is yet to be discovered and destroy any chance of making a difference before we are even aware of it.
Ben Hewitt, Director of Campaigns and Projects, Surfers Against Sewage, said: “Every year new and unique ocean dwelling creatures are being discovered in the depths of the marine world. Meanwhile, humankind is treating our sea as a ‘single-use ocean’ – filling it with plastic, changing its chemistry through carbon emissions and stripping it of all natural abundance.
“We’ve built ‘Creature’ to represent the sea life that people are destroying without even being aware of it. People will only thrive if our ocean thrives.
“At present, we’re sleep-walking into slaughter – but it’s not too late. With the help of the general public and policy makers, we can ensure our oceans remain a place that our sea life can continue to flourish in.
“Ignore this warning, however, and we risk the next generation never knowing many of the species we’ve all grown up with.”
Inspired by his love of the ocean, Tagholm says the idea for ‘Creature’ came to him while he was out in the water.
He said: “I wondered what could be out there in the deep. And what might be suffering before we’ve even had a chance to meet.
“Over the years I’d watched Surfers Against Sewage tirelessly fight the plastic polluting industry, and just as tirelessly unite human beings who care.
“This sense of community is ultimately what the film is about; what I wanted to capture. There’s a love there and it’s what SAS is all about – I was very proud to be a part of their world for the days we were down there.”
The creature was built full-scale by Anarchy Ltd, augmented and animated by MPC London and all film costs have been gifted to SAS as a donation.
To sign the petition and make your voice heard as #GenerationSea, click here.
Article written by Hazel Murray for Surfers Against Sewage