Countries from across the Commonwealth have yesterday pledged to eliminate avoidable single use plastic in an ambitious bid to clean up the world’s oceans.
Prime Minister Theresa May announced that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – an agreement between member states to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution.
Britain, together with CCOA joint chair Vanuatu, will call on other countries to pledge action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
To drive this forward, the Prime Minister has also announced a £61.4 million package of funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove said:
“When it comes to our seas and oceans, the challenge is global so the answer must be too.
“Through this ambitious alliance we will build on the UK’s world-leading microbeads ban and 5p plastic bag charge to harness the full power of the Commonwealth in pushing for global change and safeguarding our marine environment for future generations”.
Developing countries signed up to the Alliance will also be eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems and implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans.
In recognition of the passionate response of the UK public to the issue, from later this year the Department for International Development will also match pound-for-pound public donations to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
“The scourge of plastics is a global environmental challenge – and one that overwhelmingly impacts the livelihoods and health of the world’s poorest people.
“We are joining forces with our Commonwealth partners, bringing together global expertise to stop plastics waste from entering oceans – and by matching pound-for-pound the UK public’s passionate response to the issue, we can make our shared ambition for clean oceans a reality”. (gov.uk)