The Crown Princess says that she and other members of the royal family remain concerned over plastics pollution, reports broadcaster NRK.
“I made an effort to make Skaugum plastic free last year, and it didn’t go so well. I think it was incredibly difficult. It was an experiment to see how normal consumers can avoid using plastics,” Crown Princess Mette-Marit told NRK.
Known for her interest in the environment, the Crown Princess and other royals have previously been involved in initiatives to removed litter from beaches in Norway.
“The experiment inspired me to think about when plastic is a necessary product, and when it actually is not. We are in no way perfect, but I think that it is important to try and reduce the use of plastic in any case,” she said.
Plastic packaging with food and electronics products was the most difficult to avoid, according to the princess.
In interviews recorded by NRK with senior members of Norway’s royal family, King Harald described as a “wake-up call” the sight near Bergen earlier this year of a whale that had become ill after ingesting plastic.
After being forced to put down the whale, researchers found 30 plastic bags and large amounts of microplastics in the animal’s stomach.
Environmental organisation Grid has estimated that around 350 million tonnes of plastic are produced annually worldwide, with drastic increases forecast in the coming years.
15 tonnes are estimated to be dumped into the sea every minute, writes NRK.
Marine biologist Per-Erik Schulze of the Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature (Naturvernforbundet) told the broadcaster that the issue was critical.
“Every single minute an amount equivalent to several waste disposal trucks full of plastic goes into the sea. We can observe that it is building up and is not broken down. That cannot continue,” Schulze said.
“Several researchers say that plastic is a type of environmental pollutant. An environmental pollutant is defined as something that is persistent and difficult to break down. It is then ingested by organisms and causes harm in various ways,” he continued.