Four more countries have signed up to a Commonwealth effort to tackle ocean plastic, Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey has announced.
The UK and Vanuatu-led Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance [CCOA] aims to 'unite countries around the Commonwealth so they can work together to turn the tide on plastic entering the marine environment'.
Under terms of the Alliance, each country will pledge to take action to eliminate avoidable plastic waste – be this by a ban on microbeads, a commitment to cutting down on single-use plastic bags, or other steps.
According to a Government spokesperson: "Three months on, Australia, Fiji, Kenya and St Lucia have now formally joined the Alliance and will sit alongside New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ghana to create a nine-strong coalition in the fight against plastic pollution.
"High Commissioners from over 30 Commonwealth countries, including Tanzania and Nigeria who have not formally signed up to the Alliance, met in London today to share the ambitions and expertise they have and reiterate their commitment to healthy oceans.
"The meeting was chaired by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey where she highlighted the UK’s global leadership on ocean conservation and updated on action taken under our 25 Year Environment Plan."
'Greatest environmental challenges'
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: "Marine plastics pollution is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world today, requiring a truly global approach to developing a solution.
"By joining together the expertise and ambitions of the Commonwealth countries, we can make huge strides towards eliminating all single use plastic from our oceans.
"I thoroughly enjoyed hearing from other countries on how they are approaching this challenge, and look forward to seeing what difference we can make together."