A team of environmental groups and scientists is to send an open letter to the New Zealand Government calling for stronger measures to be adopted to curb ocean plastics.

The letter is addressed to the Parliament and urges lawmakers to introduce a bottle deposit scheme in the country.

Environmental group The Kiwi Bottle Drive has partnered with ocean campaigners Auckland Zoo, community recycling network Māori, as well as zero waste campaigners, marine scientists, sustainable businesses and engineers to write the letter.

The requested cash-back-for-plastic scheme could significantly increase recycling rates and achieve a drastic reduction in litter across the country.

“With China refusing our waste alongside an increase in plastic production, it’s vital New Zealand addresses its plastic crisis.”

The Kiwi Bottle Drive plastics campaigner Holly Dove said: “We’ve already had tonnes of organisations, community groups and businesses sign on to the letter and we’re excited to make room for more, it’s the start of something big.

“With China refusing our waste alongside an increase in plastic production, it’s vital New Zealand addresses its plastic crisis.

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“Bottle deposits are one of the biggest opportunities New Zealand has of effectively combatting ocean plastic and now we’re providing a way for organisations, businesses and community groups to show their support for clean oceans and healthy communities, by signing on to our letter.”

The campaigners have invited the public to attend the letter’s launch event taking place on 15 May and join their fight against plastic.

Last year, the New Zealand Government finalised regulations to prohibit the sale and manufacture of certain categories of products containing plastic microbeads.

The move is set to come into force in June this year and is aimed at preventing the entry of plastic microbeads into the oceans.