Anyone who’s been watching Blue Planet 2 will have seen the devastation caused by plastic pollution in the oceans.

Evidence suggests that most of the plastic entering the oceans comes from 10 rivers in Africa and Asia, where communities have no option other than to burn or dump their waste. Prime Minister Theresa May has hinted this week that foreign aid funding will be used to reduce the plastic pollution originating in poorer countries.

We support fully the Prime Minister’s recommendation to direct foreign aid towards preventing plastic pollution.

Crucially, we believe that these funds would best be used to address the broader waste crisis. Through community-led waste management we can reduce disease and poverty, create sustainable employment and reduce climate change emissions.

This week, WasteAid UK co-signed a letter with Tearfund, the Institute of Development Studies and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, calling for a tenfold increase in official development aid spend on solid waste management in developing countries. The letter was published in today’s Daily Telegraph; the full text is at the foot of this message.

We are optimistic that the international spotlight is finally on the global waste crisis.

Please join us and show Mrs. May the power of waste management as an engine for global sustainable development!


What you can do:

1. You could tweet to Theresa May, here’s a suggested tweet:

90 per cent of the plastic waste polluting oceans came from ten rivers in Africa and Asia. Ask @Theresa_May to tackle #plasticpollution through better #wastemanagement in poorer communities. #BluePlanet2 #TurnTheTide #EndOceanPlastics

2. If you don’t use twitter you could send Theresa May an email here.

3. Share this blog post and ask people to take action!

uncollected waste is a hazard for children


Our letter:

SIR – It is only right that the Government should be considering increasing aid spending (Foreign aid to cut terrible plastic pollution, December 13) to address the problem of mismanaged solid waste in developing countries, much of which ends up as marine litter. Currently, two billion people don’t have their waste collected, causing a public health crisis and polluting our oceans. We must clean up our own act at home, but the best investment the government could make is to spend aid money to address this crisis.

At a stroke, this would more than halve the quantities of plastics entering the oceans, and the rate of diarrheal diseases in communities without waste collection, and eliminate the 270,000 deaths a year linked to waste burning. OECD figures show that less than 0.3 percent of official development aid is spent on solid waste management in developing countries; increasing this to 3% could extend services to all.

Nigel Harris, Chief Executive, Tearfund

Melissa Leach, Director, Institute of Development Studies

David C. Wilson, President, Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and Lead Author of the Global Waste Management Outlook

Mike Webster, Chief Executive, WasteAid UK

Letter in Daily Telegraph

Images: Heather Troutman and WasteAid UK

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