UK commits £60m (US$86m) to fight plastic pollution

plastic cup on beach
CC BY 2.0 zeevveez

The pledge includes money for R&D, reducing plastic waste abroad, and better waste management too.

Not too long ago, activists urged the UK government to redirect overseas aid money to help fight plastic pollution. While the full extent of those demands has yet to be met, Business Green reports that Prime Minister Theresa May is taking a step in that direction—launching a £60m (US$86m) fund to help fight plastics pollution.

The fund includes £20m specifically dedicated to reducing plastic pollution from manufacturing in developing countries. The rest of the money will be spent on R&D into addressing sources of plastic waste (£25m) and £16.4m for improving waste management in UK cities.

Of course, given the dire state of plastic pollution in our oceans, the kinds of numbers we are talking about here are hardly commensurate to the size of the problem. But they are a step in the right direction, and May is apparently hoping that the fund will serve as leverage to encourage other Commonwealth countries to take measures such as single-use plastics taxes or plastic bag bans.

Between supermarkets eliminating to-go cups, the BBC eliminating single-use plastics and Queen Elizabeth getting rid of straws, it does feel like there has been a dramatic shift in the conversation about plastics in the UK of late.

Yes, more needs to be done. But I'm finally hopeful that it might be possible to actually do it.

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