More Commonwealth countries sign up to tackle plastic pollution

Turtle eats bottle

Eight Commonwealth countries have joined forces to reduce the amount of plastic polluting our oceans.

The Alliance was announced by Prime Minister Theresa May during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April 2018. It aims to unite countries around the Commonwealth, so they can work together to prevent plastic entering rivers and seas.

Each country has agreed to act in several ways, such as with a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cut down on single use plastic bags, or other steps to eliminate avoidable plastic waste.

Turtle eats bottle

In July, Australia, Fiji, Kenya and St Lucia formally joined the Alliance alongside the UK, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana to create an eight-strong coalition in the fight against plastic pollution.

High Commissioners from over 30 Commonwealth countries, including Tanzania and Nigeria who have not formally signed up to the Alliance, met in London in July 2018 and agreed to share expertise and reiterate their commitment to healthy oceans.

The meeting was chaired by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, who highlighted the UK’s approach to ocean conservation under the 25 Year Environment Plan.

Ms Coffey said: “Marine plastics pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today, requiring a truly global approach to developing a solution.

“By joining together the expertise and ambitions of the Commonwealth countries, we can make huge strides towards eliminating all single use plastic from our oceans. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from other countries on how they are approaching this challenge and look forward to seeing what difference we can make together.

Ms Coffey also outlined the assistance available from the UK to support Commonwealth countries through the £61.4m Commonwealth Oceans Plastic Package.

Included in the package is a £25m Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework, to help researchers approach the scourge of marine plastic waste from a scientific, technical, economic and social perspective.

Additional information

Plastic pollution in the ocean 
Greenpeace Plastics Pledge 
Ocean plastic pollution – our ocean’s biggest threat
Plastic Free Times

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.