WITH our government excepting the consequences of using plastic packaging and bags to contain our groceries, it's a good news story that the EU has at last also woken up to the waste in our oceans and are pushing for a ban on single use plastic items such as straws and cotton buds. But I feel this progress will become a long and laborious task for a very serious problem and a better strategy is to have maximum impact by taking the fight directly to the worse polluters.

Based on the fact that two billion people live without waste collection and three billion without controlled waste disposal around the world, there should be a moral and environmental case for using more of our foreign aid budget to support poorer countries protect our oceans.

The statistics for such action come from the Chartered institute of Waste Managers and the UK-based NGO Waste Aid who point out that 70 per cent of ocean plastic comes from developing countries. Just five countries in East Asia are responsible for most of this. Meanwhile, 38 out of 50 of the world’s largest uncontrolled dump sites are in coastal areas and many of them spill waste directly into the sea.

As a member of the United Nations, the UK has committed itself to spending 0.8 per cent of gross national income on foreign aid, amounting to around £14billion each year. Just 0.3 per cent of this currently gets spent on waste management. Diverting additional money would help out some of the world’s poorest countries. It would most certainly be a major boost towards cleaning up the environment and I feel there no better, more practical way of tackling the ocean plastic crisis with the urgency it desperately needs.

This is in addition to the efforts being proposed in Europe.

MIKE FRY, Moorland Crescent, Upton