Sri Lanka joins Commonwealth alliance to fight against plastic pollution

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Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged £61.4 million to tackle marine plastic pollution through a global alliance of Commonwealth states.

Another £20m is to be spent to curb plastic and other environmental pollution generated by manufacturing.

The fund was announced by Theresa May ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London next week.

The government also confirmed yesterday that developing countries that have signed up to the alliance will also be eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems, as well as implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans.

Over £60m has been set aside to take on plastic in the ocean with £25m going towards research to investigate plastic's scientific, economic and social impact on marine wildlife.

Poor waste management is the single leading cause of plastics in the ocean, and improving waste infrastructure in developing countries will be a major focus of the CCOA, according to Downing Street.

The ministry has notified the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2018, which specifies phasing out of those multi-layered plastics (MLPs) that are "non-recyclable, non-energy recoverable or with no alternate use", an official statement said.

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"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 now find it".

Her campaign comes in the wake of the Blue Planet II TV series which highlighted the issue of seaborne plastic pollution.

"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".

Additionally, the UK Department for International Development will support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution.

Although measures to hike taxes on single-use plastics are still under development, the response from the business world to anti-plastic sentiment has been dramatic, with firms from PG Tips to Iceland pledging to cut down - or outlaw altogether - single-use plastics from their operations.

"It's well within the possibility that in the coming years we will see an industrially viable process to turn PET, and potentially other (plastics), back into their original building blocks so that they can be sustainably recycled", Professor McGeehan said.

Earlier this year the United Kingdom promised to eliminate "unnecessary" single-use plastics in the United Kingdom by 2042.

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