The UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, has pledged £61.4 million to fight plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.
The announcement was made in a speech on Sunday, The Independent reports. May also announced that the first countries to sign up to the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) include New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, and Ghana. The alliance is designed to help developing nations to manage, and improve, their handling of waste.
Of the £61.4 million budget, £25 million will go towards scientific, economic and social research into marine plastic pollution; £20 million will help developing countries cut their plastic use and environmental pollution; and £16.4 million will be used to improve waste management at both the national and city level.
“[Marine plastic pollution is] one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the world today, it is vital that we tackle this issue, so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it,” May said. “The UK public has shown passion and energy in the fight against plastic waste, and I believe the Commonwealth is uniquely placed to further this transformative action.”
Next week a meeting with the Commonwealth Heads of Government is due to take place. The meeting will be co-chaired by both the UK and Vanuatu. The UK will request that other members take steps to cut down on single-use plastic.
“This alliance and the leadership the UK government is showing through the Commonwealth demonstrates that we’re committed to being part of a global solution,” World Wildlife Fund chief executive, Tanya Steele, told The Independent.
In February, it was reported that the UK was set to ban plastic straws across the country. Environmental Secretary, Michael Gove, stated that straws are “lethal” and if they were banned, there would be “scant reason to reinvent them.”
It’s not just the UK and the Commonwealth who are taking steps to cut down on plastic. In Taiwan, single-use plastics are set to be phased out completely by 2030, according to the country’s Environmental Protection Administration.
Minister, Lee Ying-Yuan, stated the ban would help to “create a better environment for future generations.”