New £20m UK investment to tackle plastic waste in developing nations

UK Research and Innovation is supporting partnerships with researchers across 11 countries: China, Chile, Egypt, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Peru, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam

An investment of £20 million has been announced for research into understanding the impacts of plastic pollution in developing countries.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) is supporting five projects that include partnerships with researchers across 11 countries: China, Chile, Egypt, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Peru, Malawi, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam.

The research projects will draw upon arts and humanities, economic and social, engineering, physical, environmental and life sciences to explore ways to mitigate the impacts of plastic pollution and reduce its impact on communities and the environment.

They include investigating the impacts of using plastic mulch films in agriculture in five countries, the sources, pathways and fate of plastic waste in the Indonesian environment, coastal plastic pollution in Vietnam and waste management practices in Tanzania and Malawi.

The Reducing the Impacts of Plastic Waste in Developing Countries programme is supported via the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), a £1.5 billion investment announced in 2015 to support cutting-edge research that addresses challenges faced in developing countries, of which UKRI is a delivery partner.

Professor Sir Duncan Wingham, Executive Chair of the Natural Environment Research Council – which is leading the programme within UKRI said: “Pollution caused by plastic waste is one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges and UKRI is at the forefront of funding research to find solutions. This investment of £20 million is a vital step in helping world-leading researchers develop realistic and feasible solutions to reduce plastic pollution while enabling equitable, sustainable growth.

“Our investment in international development research aims to positively impact the lives of millions of people across the world and supports global efforts to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

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