New Zealand, Ghana and Sri Lanka have joined the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance (CCOA), which aims to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics to preserve the world’s oceans.
In a statement, the UK’s prime minister Theresa May also announced that the UK government would commit £61.4 million of funding to boost global research into plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries stop plastic from entering oceans.
May claimed that the UK would call for other Commonwealth countries to take action against plastic waste by implementing measures such as banning the use of microbeads or committing to ban or reduce the use of single-use plastic bags.
Developing countries which sign up to the alliance will be able to apply for support which will allow them to improve waste management systems, and implement initiatives to cut down on plastic waste.
Additionally, the UK will commit £25 million to help researchers develop solutions to combat the plastic waste problem, and will also invest a further £20 million to prevent environmental pollution resulting from manufacturing in developing countries.
Finally, the UK government will invest £16.4 million to improve waste management infrastructure in the UK.
The UK government’s 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 added: “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.”
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