Prime Minister Theresa May has announced a £61.4 million package of waste funding which will help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.
The announcement came as the Prime Minister also confirmed that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) – 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.
Commenting on yesterday’s (15 April) announcement, environment secretary Michael Gove explained that a global approach is needed to tackle plastic pollution.
Mr 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.”
Waste management systems
The government also confirmed yesterday that developing countries that have signed up to the alliance will also be eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems, as well as implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans.
It was also confirmed that from later in 2018, the Department for International Development will match public donations to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers, “in recognition of the passionate response of the UK public to the issue”.
Other funding announcements made in yesterday’s statement include £25 million to help researchers approach the scourge of marine plastic waste from a scientific, technical, economic and social perspective. There was also a further £20 million to prevent plastic and other environmental pollution from manufacturing in developing countries.
“To further support the work of the CCOA, £16.4 million will be used to improve waste management at a national and a city level,” the government said.
Defra will also be investing £2.4m to “support the development of a new public-private delivery platform to help advance the ambitions set out by the CCOA”.
International development secretary and Portsmouth North MP, Penny Mordaunt, commented that the funding pledges will help make ambitions on plastic a reality.
She 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.”