Vanuatu Fights Plastic With British Alliance

19th April 2018

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As the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London gets underway this week, Vanuatu has joined forces with the United Kingdom to establish the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance. The new initiative is designed to support the clean-up of our oceans while assisting Commonwealth countries in their efforts to prevent plastic waste from entering the environment.

Already Ghana, Sri Lanka and New Zealand have pledged to join the Alliance with the UK committing £61.4 million to the cause. Together the committed nations are calling for a total Commonwealth supported ban on microbeads, single-use plastic bags and the unnecessary use and disposal of plastic.

Announcing the initiative, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gave expressed the importance of the grave test ahead for the international community.

“When it comes to our seas and oceans, the challenge is global so the answer must be too,” he said.

“Through this ambitious alliance we will build on the UK’s world-leading microbeads ban and 5p plastic bag charge to harness the full power of the Commonwealth in pushing for global change and safeguarding our marine environment for future generations.”

Developing nations in support of the Alliance will be eligible to bid for partnership support to facilitate plastic reduction initiatives and improve current waste management systems.

Penny Mordaunt, the UK International Development Secretary, referred to the United Kingdoms major concerns regarding the increase in plastic waste.

“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 joining forces with our Commonwealth partners, 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,” she said.

Prime Minister Therasa May is expected to ask all 52 Commonwealth leaders to sign up to the Alliance at this weeks convention.

"Devoting UK international development money to help poor communities clean up and better manage their waste isn't just good for nature, it's good for people too,” Ms May said.