Commonwealth nations announce pledge to fight plastic pollution

Countries from across the Commonwealth have today pledged to eliminate avoidable single use plastic in an ambitious bid to clean up the world’s oceans.

New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have become the latest nations to join the UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – an agreement between member states to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution.

 Other countries are being asked to pledge action on plastics, be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste – much of which finds its way into the sea.

 

Polluted beach
Polluted beach

The UK government has also announced a £61.4 million package of funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.

In addition, the UK’s Department for International Development says it will match, pound-for-pound, public donations to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers, support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution, and carry out waste management pilot programmes to help tackle the waste from cities that too often ends up in the world’s oceans and rivers.

Plastic waste is of particular concern as it degrades so slowly and is having such a devastating impact on marine mammals. Plastic debris in the ocean such as shopping bags and wrappers, is often mistaken for food by whales and dolphins, and cause them serious problems.

"We welcome the global leadership of the UK and Vanuatu in launching the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance to tackle global plastic pollution of our oceans,” says WDC CEO, Chris Butler-Stroud. “The UK’s proven leadership in the field of reducing this emergent threat to people, wildlife and island communities, coupled with the frontline experience of the people of Vanuatu in dealing with single use plastics is the necessary inspiration for the Commonwealth and global community to tackle the increasingly pervasive threat of plastic pollution."

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PROBLEM OF PLASTIC AND HOW YOU CAN HELP GO TO WDC’S NOTWHALEFOOD SITE. BE A PLASTIC HERO!