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New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana join UK-led fight against marine plastic pollution

PKBR Staff Writer Published 16 April 2018

Three countries from across the Commonwealth including New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the UK to eliminate avoidable single use plastic and clean up the world’s oceans.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May announced that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined Britain and the Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, an agreement signed between member states to jointly fight against plastic pollution.

Together with CCOA joint chair Vanuatu, UK said it will urge other countries to ban use of microbeads, cut down on single use plastic bags, or take steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.

As part of this effort, Theresa May has embarked on a £61.4m funding package to boost global research.

UK 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.”

The funding will also help Commonwealth countries to stop plastic waste from entering the oceans.

UK 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.”

Additionally, the UK Department for International Development will support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution.

It will also undertake waste management pilot programs to help tackle the waste, which ends up in the oceans and rivers.

The Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, which will work in partnership with businesses and NGOs, will implement a number of international agreements to protect oceans, such as the UN Clean Seas campaign, the Global Ghost Gear Initiative and the London Protocol.