After a 16 year gap, the sequel to 2001's groundbreaking "Blue Planet" Series is here. Tonight (October 29) will see the premiere of "Blue Planet II." A new series from acclaimed film-maker David Attenborough is not simply a new set of documentaries, but a televisual event. Last year's Planet Earth II series was heralded as one of the year's best TV shows and expectations are just as high for the return of Blue Planet.

Environmental damage

However, aside from being a wildly popular TV show, "Blue Planet II" also comes with stark environmental warnings about the destruction that human activity causes in the natural world.

One of the major concerns addressed by the show is the amount of waste plastic that finds its way into the sea.

Every day more than 8 tonnes of plastic leaks into the ocean causing untold damage to marine eco-systems, but also to humans. Recent studies have found that billions of people around the world are drinking water contaminated with plastic. With plastic production set to quadruple by 2050 it is now more important than ever for collective action to be taken. Cutting back on plastic packaging and plastic bags is a good first step, but our general over-reliance on plastic is the root problem that needs to be addressed.

Attenborough believes that this issue, as well as the expected 1.5 degree rise in ocean temperature over the next 10 years, are the biggest threats to the ocean. Though short on specific ways in which we can turn the tide on this problem, he hopes that the show will help raise awareness of how our actions effect nature, "what we do...has a direct effect on the oceans - and what the oceans do then reflects back on us."

People may think that damage to the ocean is not something that is caused by them, or something that will not affect them, but they are wrong on both fronts.

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Footage in "Blue Planet II" helps to illustrate this and, by bringing the problem into the living rooms and screens of prime-time audiences, hopefully we can realise that we all share a collective responsibility.

Beauty amidst destruction

The show is not just a lecture series, though, and most of the issues are not explicitly addressed until the seventh, and final, episode. The main focus throughout is on the beauty of the ocean landscapes and the weird and mysterious creatures that are found there.

The show has been shot over four years, incorporating thousands of hours of footage from over 100 expeditions. Like most Attenborough productions the show has used cutting edge techniques and new technology, some of which was developed specifically for the series.

The music is, once again, overseen by Hans Zimmer (in collaboration with Radiohead), so expect eerily beautiful aural vistas to accompany the aquatic adventures.

David Attenborough has proved time and again that environmentally conscious television can be engaging and entertaining, so let's hope the message of "Blue Planet II" can inspire people to take action against pollution, before it's too late.