In a speech Sunday night, British Prime Minister Theresa May announced that the UK government would put $76 million (£61.4 million) towards cleaning the world’s oceans of plastic.
Reported by Resource, the announcement came the night before the start of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting from April 16th to April 20th. Prime Minister May hoped to encourage other Commonwealth countries to join the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) through which the funds will be directed.
The CCOA was established by the UK and Vanuatu to tackle plastic pollution. Other countries that have joined the alliance include Ghana, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka.
The money will be put to research and addressing how to tackle the many threats plastic pollution can have to the health of ocean and how to combat. May called plastic pollution “one of the most significant environmental challenges facing the world today.”
The money will divided up with $30.9 million (£25 million) going towards researching the science and economics of marine plastic pollution, $24,7 million (£20 million)going towards preventing plastic and other pollutants, and $20.3 million (£16.4 million) to improve waste management in the UK to prevent plastic entering the ocean through rivers.
May also hopes to encourage the 52 countries in the Commonwealth to join the UK in banning microbeads and restricting bag use.
The step forward is pivotal in ocean pollution management as plastic pollution in the ocean has recently been found to be much bigger than previously thought and plastic is on pace to outweigh fish by 2050 in the ocean.