The UK government has announced a £61.4m package of funding which it hopes will aid global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering oceans.
£25m of the package will be used to help researchers approach the problem of marine plastic waste from a ‘scientific, technical, economic and social perspective.’
It will also put £20m to prevent plastic and other environmental pollution from manufacturing in developing countries.
£16.4m will be used to improve waste management at a ‘national and a city level.’
Prime Minister Theresa May also announced today 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. The alliance pledges a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single-use plastic bags, as well as other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.
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.
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.’
Jeremy Darroch, Chief Executive of Sky, said:
‘In January 2017 we launched Sky Ocean Rescue to raise awareness of ocean health and to encourage the public to remove single-use plastic from their lives by making simple, everyday changes.
‘We strive to be a responsible business and believe through our own behaviours that we can affect real change. So I am delighted to support the UK and Vanuatu Governments’ launch of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance and we look forward to working together to find innovative solutions that will make a significant difference to the health of our oceans for current and future generations.’