There are reports in the news today on how the UK’s international development budget could be used to tackle plastic pollution in the world’s oceans. This comes as a scientific study found that 90 per cent of the plastic waste polluting oceans came from ten rivers in Africa and Asia.
The UK Government is a global leader in protecting oceans and marine life, having taken significant steps to reduce plastic waste, with initiatives such as the carrier bag charge and a ban on microbeads in toiletries.
And Britain is committed to helping the world’s poorest – this means taking on global challenges like pollution and climate change, which go hand-in-hand in the fight against poverty.
This is why we have committed £5.8 billion in aid between 2016-2021 to tackle climate change, one of the greatest environmental challenges faced today.
This funds projects that help the world’s poorest by tackling the causes of climate change and helping them to adapt, as well as investing in cleaner technologies which can reduce exposure to pollution
UK environmental programmes include:
- Supporting energy providers in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda to provide clean energy for households, communities and businesses.
- Providing support for business and governments to make energy access affordable to the poorest people in 14 African countries.
- Supporting the Global Environment Facility, a major international fund that addresses marine plastic pollution.
- Providing £7.6m to the World Bank Pollution Management and Environmental Health Programme. These multilateral programmes aim to reduce levels of air, water and soil pollution in developing countries – protecting the environment but also tackling the negative public health outcomes of pollution.
DFID and DEFRA have a strong track record of working together on the environment and development – and tackling marine pollution is a good example of where we can apply our joint strengths. The International Development Secretary and the Environment Secretary are already working closely to discuss ideas and new solutions to tackle the plastic waste that is polluting the world’s rivers and oceans.
The issue will also be on the agenda for next year’s Commonwealth Summit being held here in the UK. Ahead of this Summit, the International Development Secretary is reaching out to all other Government Departments, to seek out new and innovative ways to work with DFID to solve critical global challenges, including plastic pollution and environmental protection.