The U.K.’s Prince of Wales made an ardent speech on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., urging world governments to tackle the growing problem of oceanic pollution.
Prince Charles told the government officials, corporate executives and nonprofit leaders present that he was “horrified” to learn that up to 8 million tons of plastic enter the world’s seas each year.
“One issue that we absolutely cannot ignore is that of the increasing quantity of plastic waste in the marine environment,” he said on the first day of his 20th official visit to the U.S., reports Agence France-Presse.
The 66-year-old heir to the British throne then described a harrowing image of seabirds being killed after mistaking plastic for food.
Accompanied by his wife Camilla, he also paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial and Martin Luther King Memorial.
On Thursday, the Prince will meet with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office to discuss climate change, youth opportunities and other world affairs.