Gove calls on sports industry to tackle plastic waste

Environment secretary Michael Gove will use the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting this week to call on the sporting industry to do more to tackle plastic waste.

It’s estimated that large-scale sporting events often generate up to 750,000 plastic bottles and seven tonnes of waste, the environment secretary and representatives from Premier League football, swimming and ocean sailing will look at how the sector can use its influence to address the problem.

It follows the announcement earlier this week that the UK government will spend £61.4m on funding for Commonwealth countries, aimed at cutting down ocean plastic waste.

Plastic balloons have been banned at this year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia, and a deposit-return scheme for plastic cups has been introduced at Twickenham during Rugby Union fixtures. Tottenham Hotspur football club has also committed to phasing-out all single-use plastics.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges of our time and we all have a role to play to tackle the threats our oceans face.

‘There are few groups which have the global reach and power the sports sector does to inspire change and mobilise action. The industry is already making great strides, and I look forward to seeing how they can build on this progress to be true ambassadors for global change.’

Bill Bush, executive director of the Premier League, will also attend the roundtable. He said: ‘The Premier League is well aware of the importance of taking action against plastic pollution, it affects us all and our fans expect us to do what we can to tackle this threat.

‘We are here today to learn from others as we develop our plans to reduce plastic use throughout our operations.

‘We also want to use our reach to fans here and across the world to spread the word that each and every one of us can make a difference by choosing to use less plastic.’

Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh will attend in his role as the UN’s patron of the oceans. He said: ‘Single-use plastics have no place in the modern world and I will be urging sportsmen and women, especially those involved with ocean sports, to help us share this important message and be voices for the protection of our oceans.’


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