The immense influence of sport should be harnessed in the global fight against ocean-toxifying plastic waste, the environment secretary has said.
Leaders from Premier League football, swimming and ocean sailing will meet with Michael Gove today to discuss ways of reducing waste at mass sporting events.
Such events often generate up to 750,000 plastic bottles and seven tonnes of waste, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
The department pointed to the example of this year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast where it said plastic balloons were banned and water refills introduced.
Mr Gove is meeting sports leaders on board the HMS Belfast in London as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
He said: “There are few groups which have the global reach and power the sports sector does to inspire change and mobilise action.
“The industry is already making great strides, and I look forward to seeing how they can build on this progress to be true ambassadors for global change.”
Twickenham stadium introducing a deposit return scheme, with fans paying an extra £1 for a cup and getting it back upon its return, is an example for the industry, Defra said.
Bill Bush, Premier League executive director, said: “The Premier League is well aware of the importance of taking action against plastic pollution, it affects us all and our fans expect us to do what we can to tackle this threat.
“We are here today to learn from others as we develop our plans to reduce plastic use throughout our operations.”
Prime Minister Theresa May recently announced a £61.4 million war chest as part of the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance – a strategy to help developing Commonwealth nations research and improve and waste management.
Four Commonwealth countries have already joined the UK in the alliance – New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu and Ghana – and Mrs May is due to call on all 52 Commonwealth leaders to join forces at the summit.