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Episode 2

Hugh and Anita's attempts to solve our plastic problems continue. Anita tackles bathroom plastics whilst Hugh learns that microplastics are in the air.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani’s attempts to solve our plastic problems continue.

On the street in Bristol, where they have challenged the residents to go plastic-free, the attention shifts to the bathroom. Shampoos, toothpaste, make-up, shower gels: our bathroom products almost always come in plastic. But when Anita takes the residents to the local sewage works, they get a very graphic (and smelly) introduction to another problem: wet wipes. We use 11 billion wet wipes in the UK each year, up 30% since 2014. Millions are flushed down loos incorrectly and end up contributing to the vast fatburgs that clog up our sewers. The residents are most shocked, however, to discover that 90% of wet wipes contain plastic. Anita wonders why the major manufacturers fail to make it clear on their labels, and she comes up with a spectacular way to try to get answers.

Meanwhile Hugh is continuing to investigate what happens to our recycling once it leaves our homes. He wants to know why so much British plastic waste is ending up rotting on illegal dump sites in Malaysia. He presents his findings to a local council whose bags he found on the site, and to the Minister for the Environment, Michael Gove. Gove is appalled by what Hugh shows him, but will his strong words lead to action and real change?

Hugh then travels to Plymouth University to find out about the prevalence of microfibres in the natural environment. Microscopic plastic particles have already been found in the deepest ocean trenches, the highest mountain ranges, and in ice-core samples in the Arctic. With mounting concern about what they could be doing to our health, Hugh learns that one major source is our synthetic clothes. After discovering that microfibres are now being found in the air as well as in our water, he gets the street’s residents involved in an experiment that suggests we could even be breathing them in.

5 weeks left to watch

59 minutes

Signed Audio described

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:05

    Sir Cliff Richard & The Shadows

    Summer Holiday

  • 00:47

    The Who

    Won't Get Fooled Again

Credits

Role Contributor
Presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Presenter Anita Rani
Director Tom Beard
Series Producer Jacky Sloane
Executive Producer Will Anderson

Broadcasts

  • Mon 17 Jun 2019 21:00
  • Wed 19 Jun 2019 23:45
  • Thu 20 Jun 2019 00:10
  • Thu 20 Jun 2019 00:45
  • Fri 19 Jul 2019 02:15

Plastics Watch

Plastics Watch

Everything you need to know about plastics and how to get involved with Plastics Action.