David Attenborough says he has ditched red meat as he praises people for changing habits on plastic use

Rebecca Speare-Cole
Sir David Attenborough fans were left 'in tears' after a baby albatross struggled to get into its nest during his new documentary: PA

David Attenborough has said the world is changing its habits on plastic use but that the progress is still "nowhere near" enough.

The naturalist and broadcaster said he is dismayed by the inaction of politicians over the issue, but is filled with hope as the public embraces environmental issues.

The 93-year-old also revealed how he has given up red meat because he has "gone off it", but is not yet fully vegetarian and still eats fish.

His comments came as he was awarded the Chatham House prize for the “galvanizing impact” Blue Planet II had on tackling plastic pollution.

The so-called Blue Planet II effect has become shorthand for how people are responding to cutting plastic waste, driving supermarkets and politicians to act.

The 93-year-old was awarded the Chatham House prize for Blue Planet II (PA)

Speaking to the Times, Attenborough said that the multiple stores changing their habits is "not a negligible achievement" - although it's "still only scratching the surface of the problem".

When asked whether the world is doing enough to tackle single-use plastics, he said: "You can't do enough. Nowhere near. Think of the millions of tonnes of stuff that we’re putting in the oceans."

The naturalist pointed out that he has been talking about plastic pollution in the sea for years.

He suggested that people are only beginning to react now because of the paralysis in public life and the climate movement becoming one of tangible change.

On trying to avoid single-use plastics, Attenborough said he occasionally feels "guilty" but he tries to do his best.

On the subject of not eating meat, he added: “I’ve just gone off it. I’m not claiming moral virtue at this point. I’m just saying I don’t particularly want to eat meat any more."

Adding that he cannot remember the last time he ate red meat, he said: “The world is changing. And certainly, with me and my family and my friends there are more vegetarians or fishetarians or whatever they call them than there were five years ago.”

Read more

Coldest night of autumn so far as temperatures plunge to -10C