Sir David Attenborough has backed a rise in UK aid support for plastic recycling in Commonwealth countries to combat the “hideous consequences” of waste.
The veteran broadcaster spoke at an event in Parliament on Monday where it was announced UK aid for recycling projects would double from £3 million to £6 million.
Sir David said ocean-polluting plastic has “hideous consequences both to humanity and to life in the seas, on which we depend”.
He said: “Now, the world globally is producing every year 400 million tonnes of plastic. And over 10 million tonnes of that goes into the oceans, every year.
“All that plastic we produce in this country, and this is matter of shame is it not?
“All this plastic, we try to dispose of, but actually we can’t, and we export it, we export it, to other countries around the world, to ask them to do our dirty work and wash our hands of it.
“China has refused to have it at last, where is it going to go? That’s one of the problems we face.”
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced the increase, saying: “ The UN estimates that there will be more plastic in the sea than fish by 2050, unless we act to reduce our use and improve how waste is managed, particularly in poorer countries.
“That’s why I am doubling UK aid’s support to projects in developing countries to increase plastic recycling. This will create jobs and reduce the harmful impact of plastic waste in our oceans.”
Trial schemes were launched in Commonwealth nations Ghana and Bangladesh last December, and one in Uganda is set to launch soon, according to the Department for International Development (DfID).
Last year, the UK pledged £66.4 million to boost research into the problem of plastic waste.
Up to £10 million has been committed to help the 19 developing countries in the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, which aims to cut down on single-use plastic.