National Geographic and Sky team up to rid oceans of plastic

Bottled water has been making headlines recently

Bottled water has been making headlines recently

Theresa May announced today that New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have joined the United Kingdom and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance - an agreement between member states to join forces in the fight against plastic pollution.

Mrs May will urge member states to join the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, an agreement to work together on the issue. New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana have already joined, Downing Street said on Saturday.

Developing countries signed up to the Alliance will also be eligible to bid for partnership support to improve waste management systems and implement other initiatives to stop plastic waste from reaching oceans, a press statement said.

To drive this forward, the Prime Minister has also announced a £61.4 million package of funding to boost global research and help countries across the Commonwealth stop plastic waste from entering the oceans in the first place.

"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 United Kingdom public's passionate response to the issue, we can make our shared ambition for clean oceans a reality".

Prof McGeehan said few could have predicted since plastics became popular in the 1960s that huge plastic waste patches would be found floating in oceans or washed up on once pristine beaches all over the world.

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The remaining amount, £16m, will go towards improving waste management at a national and city level.

It will also undertake waste management pilot programs to help tackle the waste, which ends up in the oceans and rivers.

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.

National Geographic will commit $10 million (£7m) and bring its scientific expertise, grants and media to support the activities of Sky Ocean Ventures, which seeks out investment opportunities in businesses that can help solve the ocean plastic crisis.

The cash will be used for grants, innovation challenges and events to raise the profile of the plastic problem and fund the development of alternative materials and new, zero-waste manufacturing processes.

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