Commonwealth unites in pledge to fight single-use plastics
Countries from across the Commonwealth have pledged to eliminate avoidable single-use plastic in a bid to clean up the world’s oceans.
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The United Kingdom’s Prime Minister Theresa May has 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 tackle 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.
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.”
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.”
The Department for International Development has said it will support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution, and carry out waste management pilot programmes to help tackle the waste from cities.
In addition to this, the UK Government will commit £25 million to help researchers approach marine plastic waste from a scientific, technical, economic and social perspective. It will also put £20 million to prevent plastic and other environmental pollution from manufacturing in developing countries.
The Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance will work in partnership with businesses and NGOs, including the World Economic Forum, Sky, Fauna and Flora International, the Coca-Cola Company and WWF.