UK to launch research hub to tackle marine plastics problem

11 May 2018 (Last Updated May 11th, 2018 12:12)

The UK Government has unveiled plans to establish a research and innovation hub in partnership with India, Canada and other Commonwealth nations with the view to developing solutions to tackle marine plastic pollution.

UK to launch research hub to tackle marine plastics problem
Beach littered with plastic waste. Credit: Loranchet.

The UK Government has unveiled plans to establish a research and innovation hub in partnership with India, Canada and other Commonwealth nations with a view to developing solutions to tackle marine plastic pollution.

The partners will join the Marine Plastics Research and Innovation Framework, under which experts, governments and businesses will be encouraged to explore ideas to deal with plastic waste.

Some of the issues to be addressed include preventing the entry of plastic waste into the oceans and promoting the development of a circular economy.

The global hub will also see experts share their scientific and technical knowledge on how to clean up our oceans sustainably and create eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.

The UK government, which will launch the Framework, is to fund it with £25m.

UK Energy and Clean Growth Minister Claire Perry said: “Plastics are not only polluting our waters, they are contributing to climate change and killing sea life.

“With our funding, matched by research being developed throughout the Commonwealth, this £50m Framework will help develop options for alternative uses to prevent plastics from ending up in seas.”

“With our funding, matched by research being developed by nations throughout the Commonwealth, this £50m Framework will help develop options for alternative uses to prevent plastics from ending up in our seas.

“It also ensures that the UK is at the forefront of encouraging the world to move towards clean growth, tackling the threat from marine plastics and protecting our oceans for future generations.”

Retailers such as Unilever and Waitrose have also pledged financial support to the hub.

Other participants include the British Plastics Federation and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), RPC Group and engineering firm Mott MacDonald.

Earlier this year, UK Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to cut down the amount of plastic waste in the country by 2042.

Last month, several British supermarkets and food companies signed up for the UK Plastics Pact, an industry-wide initiative to curb plastic waste.