May calls on Com­mon­wealth to pledge ac­tion on plas­tic waste

The Sunday Telegraph - - News - By Ed­ward Mal­nick

THERESA MAY will this week urge Com­mon­wealth lead­ers to join to­gether to tackle the scourge of dis­carded plas­tic in the world’s oceans, as she an­nounces £60 mil­lion-worth of fund­ing to de­velop new ways to ad­dress the prob­lem.

The Prime Min­is­ter will warn that the threat to oceans is “one of the most sig­nif­i­cant environmental chal­lenges fac­ing the world today” and state that the Com­mon­wealth is “uniquely placed” to build on the UK’s “trans­for­ma­tive ac­tion”.

She will urge dozens of lead­ers at this week’s Com­mon­wealth Heads of Gov­ern­ment Meet­ing in Lon­don to join a newly formed Com­mon­wealth Clean Oceans Al­liance. Each of the coun­tries will be asked to pledge ac­tion on plas­tic waste, from ban­ning mi­crobeads to com­mit­ting to cut­ting down on sin­gleuse plas­tic bags.

Today, the Gov­ern­ment an­nounces a new £61.4mil­lion tranche of fund­ing, which will in­clude £20mil­lion to help pre­vent plas­tic and other environmental pol­lu­tion in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Speak­ing ahead of the sum­mit, which be­gins to­mor­row, Mrs May said: “This week we will look closely at how we can tackle the many threats to the health of the world’s oceans, in­clud­ing the scourge of marine plas­tic pol­lu­tion. As 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.

“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. It is a unique or­gan­i­sa­tion with the strength and the com­mit­ment to make a dif­fer­ence.

“If we stand to­gether, we have the op­por­tu­nity to send not only a pow­er­ful mes­sage to the world, but also to ef­fect real change.”

A Down­ing Street spokesman said that, spread over six con­ti­nents and “rich in is­land states, the Com­mon­wealth is uniquely placed to tackle marine plas­tics pol­lu­tion”.

New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, and Ghana have al­ready signed up to the new al­liance.

Plas­tic on a beach: the Com­mon­wealth is ‘uniquely placed’ to tackle this pol­lu­tion

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