May calls on Commonwealth to pledge action on plastic waste
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