The Prince of Wales has spoken about his “deep frustration” at the world ignoring plastic waste in the ocean.
Charles delivered a speech at a meeting of environmentalists and business leaders to discuss the issue on Wednesday.
He said: “Over the last few years, the awareness and science about the negative impacts of plastic waste in our ocean have grown significantly.
“Many of you, I know, shared my deep frustration that the world was seemingly just turning a blind eye to this mounting evidence.
“Thankfully, the level of concern has now changed, not least because of your efforts.”
Charles, long known for his interest in environmental causes, attended the meeting of the International Sustainability Unit (ISU) at The British Academy in central London.
He told delegates: “Even though the challenge at hand is extremely grave and unbelievably urgent, I for one at least find some encouragement from the fact that the legacy of plastic in the environment is now very much on the global agenda and in the public consciousness.”
Charles established the ISU in 2010 to help tackle environmental issues such as deforestation, climate change and marine health.
At the meeting, he praised collaborative and integrated efforts to solve the problem of plastic waste.
He said: “In a culture where the forces of competition so often swamp the imperative of co-operation, breaking out of the silos that slow down progress is even more of an achievement.”
Charles, who made his first speech on the environment nearly half a century ago in December 1968, added: “The nightmare result of eight million tonnes of plastic entering the ocean every year is set to get worse rather than better.
“We cannot, indeed must not, allow this situation to continue… I do fervently pray that you will all do your utmost to work together in the coming year to make real, substantial progress.
“It could not be more critical that you succeed.”
Attendees at the “Keeping plastics and their value in the economy and out of the ocean” conference included representatives from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, PepsiCo UK, and Sky Ocean Ventures Fund.