Commitments on plastics and marine waste

24 April 2018

Article: 52/1609

Countries from across the Commonwealth have pledged to take action to eliminate the use of avoidable single-use plastic. New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, an agreement between member states to join force to cut plastic pollution.

Britain has called on other countries to pledge action on plastics including a ban on microbeads, cutting down on single use plastic bags and other steps to avoid plastic waste. 

The UK Government has pledged £61.4 million to boost global research to help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the world’s oceans.

The money will be used to tackle the issue from a scientific, technical, economic and social perspective; to prevent plastic and other environmental pollution in other countries; and to tackle waste management at a national and city level.

Due to a passionate response from the UK public on the issue, from later this year, the Department of International Development will match public donations pound-for-pound to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers.

The Department of International Development will also support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution and carry out waste management pilot programmes to help tackle waste from cities that ends up in the world’s oceans.

Source: Department for International Development, 15 April 2018

Further to this, the UK Government has also agreed to take action to end the sale of plastic stirrers, plastic straws and cotton buds in order to further cut down on marine waste.

Single-use plastics items such as straws, stirrers and plastic stemmed cotton buds have a significant impact on the environment. A recent study showed 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the UK every year.

Subject to consultation, the government will ban the sale of these items in England in order to protect rivers and seas and to meet the 25 year Environment Action Plan to cut avoidable plastic waste.

Source: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), 20 April 2018