British-led fight against marine pollution joined by New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Ghana

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Sunday that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined Britain in an alliance to fight against plastic pollution.

The three countries have joined Britain in the Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance which has pledged to ban microbeads in rinse-off cosmetics and personal care products, and cut plastic bag use by 2021.

To drive the aims of the alliance forward, May has also announced an 88 million U.S. dollars package of funding to boost global research, and help Commonwealth countries stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.

British Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “The challenge is global so the answer must be too. Through this ambitious alliance we will build on the UK’s world-leading microbeads ban and 5 pence (0.07 U.S. dollar) plastic bag charge to harness the full power of the Commonwealth in pushing for global change and safeguarding our marine environment for future generations.”

Later this year the British Department for International Development will also match dollar-for-dollar public donations to tackle the issue of plastic waste in the world’s oceans and rivers.

Britain’s International Development (DfID) Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “The scourge of plastics is a global environmental challenge, and one that overwhelmingly impacts the livelihoods and health of the world’s poorest people.

“We are bringing together global expertise to stop plastics waste from entering oceans – and by matching pound-for-pound the UK public’s passionate response to the issue, we can make our shared ambition for clean oceans a reality.”

DfID says it is to support research into solutions to reduce manufacturing pollution, and carry out waste management pilot programs to help tackle the waste from cities that often end up in the world’s oceans and rivers.

The alliance has announced it is to work in partnership with businesses and NGOs, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) as well as companies such as Coca-Cola, to share expertise and experience and push for global change.

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