19/04/2018 09:32 SAST | Updated 19/04/2018 09:32 SAST

Britain Bans Sale Of Plastic Straws In Bid To Fight Waste

It said drink stirrers and cotton buds would also be banned under the plans.

Britain plans to ban the sale of plastic straws and other single use products and is pressing Commonwealth allies to also take action to tackle marine waste, the office of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May said.

It said drink stirrers and cotton buds would also be banned under the plans.

May has pledged to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042 as part of a "national plan of action".

READ: Scientists Discover Enzyme That Eats The Worst Polluting Plastics

"Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the world, which is why protecting the marine environment is central to our agenda at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting," May said in a statement ahead of a Commonwealth summit on Thursday.

Leaders from the Commonwealth - a network of 53 countries, mostly former British colonies - are meeting in London this week.

May is looking to deepen ties to the Commonwealth as Britain seeks to boost trade and carve out a new role in the world ahead of the country's departure from the European Union in March next year.

Britain will commit 61.4 million pounds ($87.21 million) at the summit to develop new ways of tackling plastic waste and help Commonwealth countries limit how much plastic ends up in the ocean.

Aditya Irawan/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Plastic waste is seen on the north coast of Jakarta on Thursday, March 15, 2018. Based on research by Jenna Jambeck, a researcher from the University of Georgia, USA, which was released in 2015, Indonesia on the second ranks in the world as a contributor to plastic waste in the oceans, reaching 187,2 million tons. This figure is just below China which contributes 262,9 million tons of plastic waste to the oceans. In response, the Indonesian government pledged to reduce plastic waste in the sea by up to 75% by 2025.

"We are rallying Commonwealth countries to join us in the fight against marine plastic," May said.

"Together we can effect real change so that future generations can enjoy a natural environment that is healthier than we currently find it."

The statement said environment minister Michael Gove would launch a consultation later this year into the plan to ban the plastic items. It gave no details who the consultation would be with.

Reporting by Alistair Smout; Editing by Alison Williams