Common Seas on cross-Commonwealth collaboration.

Why we need to take a deep dive, together, into tackling the ocean plastics crisis.

One of the biggest threats to our ocean is plastic pollution, and communities in low-to-middle income nations are often disproportionately affected by plastic pollution issues. This is why the Commonwealth’s focus on clean ocean issues is so important.

In 2019, we supported the work of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA), which is jointly led by the United Kingdom and Vanuatu. This meant that we worked with representatives from 24 Commonwealth governments to help them deliver on their CCOA commitments to take steps to eliminate single-use plastic waste, reduce single-use plastic carrier bags by 2021, and ban the manufacture and sale of microbeads in rinse-off personal care products by 2021.

After such rich discussions across the Commonwealth, we are excited this week to be co-hosting two Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance webinars with the UK Government. Bringing in expertise from Defra, Pew Trusts and Duke University, the sessions will focus on how we can help CCOA countries best navigate the challenges and opportunities to implementing a system-wide approach to tackling plastic pollution.

This work draws on recent findings from the Breaking the Plastic Wave report – a landmark study we’re proud to have supported, an additional 80 million tons of plastic will enter our oceans between now and 2040, with profound consequences for our planet and human health.

And the need for action is even greater than we thought. Even if all current major industry and government commitments are met, this will result in just 7% reduction in ocean pollution by 2040. To change direction, we have to create a step change in how governments understand and tackle plastic pollution issues.

We believe the CCOA network can play an important role in achieving this, by supporting and enabling cross-Commonwealth collaboration to deliver the ambition and solutions we need at scale. It is only by developing, sharing and replicating lessons learned that we can create an impact greater than the sum of our individual efforts.

‘Breaking the Plastic Wave Across the Commonwealth’ goes live today and on Thursday 12th - be sure to stay tuned as we provide you with a key roundup of all the latest findings and insights from our expert panel.

Photo by Madina - unsplash.

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