Plastic USE
Plastic USE
Now playing
01:30
5 ways to cut your plastic waste
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
04:22
Levi's CEO has message for Mitch McConnell
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:46
'Duck Dynasty' stars discuss raising biracial son on new show
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:24
Nick Cannon makes big splash in 'Masked Singer' return
The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube
Now playing
01:26
'Mom' star speaks out about not having kids in real life
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:53
Restaurants face a nationwide ketchup packet shortage
Camerota Berman both
CNN
Camerota Berman both
Now playing
02:33
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota gets surprise tribute from co-anchor
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period.  AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:47
Dick Parsons: Georgia law is a bald-faced attempt to suppress Black vote
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Now playing
02:54
'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a pandemic box office hit
Now playing
01:30
5 ways to cut your plastic waste
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
04:40
Stelter: After elevating Gaetz, Fox News barely covering scandal
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Now playing
01:08
See NASA spacecraft successfully land on an asteroid
Now playing
06:51
Alisyn Camerota's kids wish her good luck in new role on CNN
(CNN) —  

Plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton swabs could be banned in England under plans proposed by the UK government to reduce plastic waste and protect the world’s oceans.

Prime Minister Theresa May will also call on all other Commonwealth countries to join the fight against plastic pollution as their leaders meet Thursday in London, Downing Street said.

“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.

She described the United Kingdom as a “world leader” on the issue of plastics, adding that the British public had “shown passion and energy embracing our plastic bag charge and microbead ban.”

Besides its domestic efforts, the UK government is putting forward £61.4 million ($87.3 million) in funding for global research and improvements in waste management in developing countries, May said.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove will launch a consultation later this year on the plans to ban plastic-stemmed cotton swabs, stirrers and straws, Downing Street said. Industry will be given sufficient time to adapt, and the government will propose excluding plastic straws used for medical reasons.

“Single-use plastics are a scourge on our seas and lethal to our precious environment and wildlife so it is vital we act now,” Gove said.

Many businesses in Britain have already taken steps to cut their use of plastic straws amid growing public concern about the impact of plastic waste on ocean life.

According to the UK government, 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die every year from eating and getting tangled in plastic waste.

A UK government report released last month warned that the amount of plastic in oceans will triple between 2015 and 2025 if action isn’t taken.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of Britain’s Green Party, said the government consultation on plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds was “another step forward but progress is painfully slow.”

The proposals must become action, he said via Twitter, and the government should bring forward its “utterly unambitious” target of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste by 2042.

Volunteers collect plastic waste washed up on a beach in Plymouth, southwest England, in August.
Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Volunteers collect plastic waste washed up on a beach in Plymouth, southwest England, in August.

Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at environmental campaign group Greenpeace UK, said the UK government had made a “strong move” on banning some of the most unnecessary single-use plastics but that it was important to go further.

“Other non-recyclable ‘problem plastic’ should also be banned at the earliest opportunity,” she said. “Greenpeace is encouraging retailers to take responsibility for their products, eliminate problem plastics immediately and to phase out single-use plastic in their own-brand products.”

Last month, the UK government announced it intends to introduce a deposit on plastic bottles, requiring customers to pay an extra levy when buying single-use drink containers that will be refunded once those items are recycled. Similar programs are in effect in a number of countries, including Germany and Norway and in parts of the United States.

A report published this month that showed a significant drop in the number of plastic bags littering Britain’s seabeds suggests that efforts to reduce their use by imposing a charge are working.