Prince Charles fears for grandchildren over plastic-polluted planet

Danielle Stacey
Royal Correspondent
The Prince of Wales delivers a speech in Ghana (Getty)

The Prince of Wales has expressed his concern over the impact of plastic waste on the planet and how it could affect the new generation.

During the Ghana-leg of his west African tour, Prince Charles gave a speech about the threat of climate change, rapid urbanisation and depletion of resources at the plastics event, in Accra. 

He told his audience, which included Ghana’s president Nana Akufo-Addo and the Duchess of Cornwall, that the Commonwealth could play a vital part in safeguarding the planet.

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Charles said: “In such an uncertain and changing world, none of us can know what kind of a planet our grandchildren, and great grandchildren, will inhabit, but the Commonwealth, it seems to me, offers us a vital mechanism to help ensure that it is not poisoned and polluted and that its vitality is not compromised.

“Therefore, we owe it to them – and to every one of our 2.3 billion fellow Commonwealth citizens – to renew and strengthen the partnerships between us, and use them to give life to the aspirations of each generation.”

Charles is presented with a portrait of himself made from recycled plastics as he attends a plastics event in Ghana (PA)

During his time in Ghana, Charles attended a plastics event to discuss the importance of tackling plastic waste and hear about the issue of Ocean Plastics in Ghana.

Representatives from industries presented their plans and commitments to reduce plastic waste and the Prince visited a number of stalls and exhibitions that displayed how artists are tackling plastic waste in their communities.

Charles spoke about the effects of climate change and plastic waste over forty years ago, but he was told he was “old-fashioned, out of touch and ‘anti-science’ for warning of such things.”

Charles accompanied his daughter-in-law Meghan halfway down the aisle at her wedding (PA)

In a recent interview withVanity Fair ahead of his 70th birthday on November 14, he revealed that the problem keeps him awake at night, but that he didn’t “really see any value in ‘I told you so.’”

He added: “As a teenager, I remember feeling deeply about this appallingly excessive demolition job being done on every aspect of life. . .. In putting my head above the parapet on all these issues, and trying to remind people of their long-term, timeless relevance to our human experience—never mind trying to do something about them—I found myself in conflict with the conventional outlook which, as I discovered, is not exactly the most pleasant situation to find yourself.”

Charles is set to welcome a fourth grandchild next spring, when Prince Harry and Meghan’s baby is due. He is already a grandfather to William and Kate’s three children, George, Charlotte and Louis.

He and the Duchess of Cornwall are currently on a nine-day tour of Africa, which concludes on November 8.