Ocean Action Hub

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UK government promises £61m to tackle ocean plastic pollution with Commonwealth nations

16 Apr 2018 - Two billion people around the world lack access to effective waste collection so much of the plastic they use ends up in our oceans.

16 Apr 2018 - The UK government has created a £61.4m war chest to fight the rising tide of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

Theresa May announced the fund as she prepared to call on 52 Commonwealth leaders to sign up to a strategy to help developing nations in the group to research and improve their waste management.

Four countries have already joined the UK in the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance: New ZealandSri LankaVanuatu and Ghana.

Downing Street said £25m of the fund would be used to help researchers investigate marine plastic from a scientific, economic and social perspective.

A further £20m will be used to curb plastic and other environmental pollution generated by manufacturing in developing countries and prevent it from entering the oceans.

The remaining £16.4m will be devoted to improving waste management at a national and a city level to stop plastics entering the water.

Following vocal public support for the issue, the government has in addition pledged to match pound-for-pound public donations to tackle plastic waste via the UK Aid Match scheme, up to a total of £5m.

The issue of plastic waste caused public outcryafter Blue Planet II, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, highlighted the scale of the problem.

Speaking before a meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government in London next week, the prime minister said: “This week we will look closely at how we can tackle the many threats to the health of the world’s oceans, including the scourge of marine plastic pollution.

“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 currently find it.

“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.

“It is a unique organisation with the strength and the commitment to make a difference.”

She added: “If we stand together, we have the opportunity to send not only a powerful message to the world, but also to effect real change.”

Britain, which is co-chairing the event with Vanuatu, will call on Commonwealth nations to follow the UK’s lead in banning microbeads and cutting down on single-use plastic bags.

WWF chief executive Tanya Steele said: “This alliance, and the leadership the UK government is showing through the Commonwealth, demonstrates that we’re committed to being part of a global solution.

“Two billion people around the world lack access to effective waste collection, so much of the plastic they use ends up in our oceans.

“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.”

CONTINUE READING: https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/theresa-may-commonwealth-plast...

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Call to ban balloon releases after 50 per cent rise in beach litter

23 Mar 2017 - Balloon releases should be banned because they can entangle and choke wildlife to death, the Marine Conservation Society has said.

23 Mar 2017 - Balloon releases should be banned because they can entangle and choke wildlife to death, the Marine Conservation Society has said.

The society said it had found 53 per cent more balloon-related litter on beaches last year compared to 2015.

So far 50 local councils have agreed to prevent the release of balloons and sky lanterns on their land and the MCS urged others to do the same.

Emma Cunningham, an MCS pollution campaigns officer, said: “There’s an awful lot of confusion over balloons, especially what they’re made of and how they break down.

“Some people believe that because latex is natural, balloons made of it are harmless once let go.

“This just isn’t the case. Latex may last for up to four years in the marine environment. The latest research also shows that only around 13 per cent of balloons burst into small pieces whilst more than 80 per cent come down intact. 

“This could explain the rise in balloon litter levels we have seen on beaches, which will have a great impact on wildlife.” 

The plight of a three-year-old horse that died after choking on a balloon string was featured on BBC Breakfast. 

The MCS asked people to help persuade councils by signing a pledge to support a local ban.

There are already bans on balloon releases in place in New South Wales and Queensland in Australia and Florida, Virginia, Connecticut, Tennessee, Texas and California in the US.

The Local Government Association issued a broadly supportive statement.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s environment spokesman, said: “The potential for sky lanterns to endanger people’s safety, their property and their livelihoods is considerable, and it is understandable why so many councils and other organisations have already banned their use as far as they are able. 

“People should also be mindful of the potential impact on wildlife and litter from normal balloons.

“Councils, who have experienced substantial budget reductions, spend many millions every year tackling litter.”

CONTINUE READING: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/balloon-releases-sky-lanterns-b...