Actor Javier Bardem has told Sky News in an exclusive interview that more companies should follow its Ocean Rescue campaign to try to cut plastic pollution in the sea.
The Spanish star, best known for his roles in the Bond movie Skyfall and No Country For Old Men, was speaking from Port de Blanes in the north of Spain where he had been out with early morning fishermen who had started sorting the plastic collected in their nets for recycling.
“I was there for an hour and we took out so much plastic, only in one hour,” he said.
“It was outstanding to see how much dirt you can find here with a net.”
He added: “We are creating a whole chaos in the ecological system, in the environmental system, in the oceans, in the sea and we have to be aware of that.”
Bardem was in the area as an ambassador for Chivas Venture, an annual competition for start-up companies that use business to tackle social or environmental challenges.
He saw the work of a Spanish winner, using the plastic collected by the fishermen to make designer sunglasses.
Bardem described it as “pretty remarkable and inspiring”.
“It gives you an idea of how to proceed in the future in the sense that, rather than screaming out and complaining, people are doing things in order to change the pattern, rather than leaving that stuff at the bottom of the ocean.”
Asked whether other companies should follow Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign to reduce single use plastic he said: “That’s the way to go.
“We have to go to a moment when everybody is getting involved in protecting this planet and plastic is one of the most important issues right now.”
Bardem, who is married to actress Penelope Cruz, said he tries to practise what he preaches at home.
He says we have all become “plastic junkies” and need to change.
“We need to be aware of not being hooked on the plastic.
“In the sense that when you go to a supermarket and you buy a couple of apples, sometimes they give you them in a box wrapped in 400 plastics.
“That’s ridiculous. It’s like, I don’t want that. I don’t want that package.
“I want simple apples that I can weigh and put in a different, normal bag and not a plastic bag.
“Things like that of course create a change, create an awareness, and it creates an awareness especially for the future generations and the ones who are going to really face a hard time with this.”
Bardem said a recent trip to Antarctica with Greenpeace opened his eyes to the true scale of plastic pollution.
He went into the ocean in a submersible and was dismayed to discover there was plastic even there.
“You would never say that plastic would get there but yes it did.
“And when you are in such a remote, beautiful, virgin area and you see that plastic, micro plastics, are there floating in the water then you understand that the problem is huge, it is really going so wide all over the world and that you have to do something about it for us to protect the oceans.
“And the oceans are such an important key, a very, very important key, for climate change, to protect us from climate warming”.
He called on governments to stop the reliance on single use plastic.
“It’s about, as they say, the fact that in 2050 there might be more plastic on the ocean than fish which sounds like a science fiction movie to me but it’s real.”
As we talk on the quayside fans gather hoping to greet him. He certainly has people-pulling power and he is hoping he can use that celebrity clout to get his message across.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com