Clean Cities, Blue Ocean
Issue: Ocean Plastic Pollution
Country: Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Maldives, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam
Region: Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean
Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) is USAID’s flagship program for combatting ocean plastic pollution. The program works globally to target ocean plastics directly at their source, focusing on rapidly urbanizing areas that contribute significantly to the estimated eight million metric tons of plastic that flow into the ocean each year.
Ocean plastics are reaching crises levels, and the human, economic, and environmental costs are mounting. To stem the tide of plastic pollution, CCBO is working to:
- Promote reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) practices and provide support to enhance local solid waste management systems;
- Build social and behavior change for the 3Rs and sustainable solid waste management;
- Support enhanced, more effective policy and governance for SWM and recycling systems; and
- Facilitate public-private partnerships and multi-stakeholder alliances to bolster the program’s impact, scalability, and sustainability.
CCBO strongly believes that local solutions are key to addressing the global challenge of ocean plastics pollution. In collaboration with global, regional, national, and local stakeholders, from 2019-2024, CCBO will implement and test locally-relevant and sustainable approaches to reduce ocean plastics that can be shared, scaled, and tailored to meet the needs and local realities of individual communities, public and private sector actors, and waste value chains around the world. Learn more about CCBO’s Program Approach.
CCBO’s grants program complements the program’s in-house technical expertise and is designed to identify and implement locally-led, sustainable solutions and approaches across its focal countries that support the program’s objectives and combat ocean plastics pollution directly at the source.
For organizations interested in learning more about CCBO’s grants program and how to apply, please visit CCBO’s Grants Program page.
CCBO is currently growing its team across Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Learn more about opportunities to join or support the CCBO program.
Promote reduce, reuse, recycle (3R) practices and provide support to enhance local solid waste management systems
Reducing the volume of waste flowing into our oceans and waterways requires improved local solid waste management systems as well as increased uptake of 3R practices. Both require incentivized markets for recycling and reuse, supportive infrastructure, and strong enabling environments. Across its focal countries and engagement sites, CCBO is identifying and establishing incentives for strengthened reuse and recycling markets, working to improve solid waste management systems through new technologies and infrastructure, and enhancing self-sustaining service delivery models for increased efficiency and revenue generation. The program prioritizes locally-centered strategies that empower individuals, provide increased economic opportunity for women and men, and address sectoral health and safety challenges.
Build social behavior change for 3Rs and sustainable solid waste management
CCBO works to shift ingrained recycling and solid waste behaviors in households, businesses, and in government to actively support the 3Rs and improved waste management. The program uses a participatory approach, working hand in hand with community members, local organizations, women, youth, independent waste collectors, and the public and private sectors to understand the socioeconomic and cultural roots of behaviors and design innovative approaches to introduce feasible alternative behaviors.
Improve local implementation and enforcement of laws, policies, and regulations
Although many countries have local- and national-level laws to safeguard public health and the environment, regulate waste management and reduction, and even incentivize and strengthen recycling and reuse markets, implementation and enforcement is often challenged by limited support, resources, and system complexity. CCBO supports focal country partners to develop, implement, and enforce regulatory measures that address local challenges, improve financing options, and enhance the livelihoods of the millions that work in or are otherwise impacted by the sector.
Forge new private sector partnerships for increased impact, sustainability, and forward-looking commitments
Around the world, momentum and interest in combating ocean plastics pollution is rapidly increasing; however, global success requires coordination, partnerships, and continued, rapid learning about the associated issues and potential, locally-relevant solutions. CCBO works to build sustainable partnerships, increase the capacity and knowledge of those that can offer support, and garner commitments from the public sector, multi-stakeholder alliances, and intergovernmental organizations for continued progress—within and beyond the program’s lifetime.
For general inquiries about Clean Cities, Blue Ocean, please contact email@example.com. For questions specific to grant opportunities, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Currently, waste in the Dominican Republic (DR) is deposited in over 350 informal and open dump sites. The condition of these sites presents a range of serious environmental and human health concerns, including environmental degradation due to improper containment of plastics and other waste, water contamination from unlined dump sites, air pollution resulting from gasses that emanate from the waste, and landfill fires sparked by spontaneous combustion. Beyond its dump sites, waste management challenges are further perpetuated by limited waste collection services, a lack of coordinated resources for community engagement and behavior change, and until recently an absence of a national legal framework to establish action plans, regulations, or enforceable policies.
CCBO Engagement Site:
- Samaná – located on the DR’s northeastern coast, Samaná peninsula has a large, semi-enclosed bay–a marine sanctuary with deep waters, small mangrove cayes, seagrass beds, and corals, all of which provide nutrients to the visiting humpback whales, turtles, and manatees.
CCBO will be launching its Indonesia program in late 2020.
The Maldives generates over 750 tons of waste each day and, as an island nation, faces a unique set of challenges in managing a rapidly growing volume of waste across its more than 1,000 inhabited islands. Given its geography and a host of other unique challenges—which include an extremely limited amount of land to store waste and being home to one of the most densely populated cities in the world—the country has been overwhelmed to not only manage its own domestic waste, but also the marine debris generated from other countries that is carried in by currents. As one of the most geographically dispersed countries in the world, the Maldives has a diversity of solid waste management models that range from central and regional waste management dump sites, hybrid systems for resorts, and a series of informal practices for local communities.
CCBO Engagement Site:
- Malé – the capital city of the Maldives and one of the world’s most densely populated towns, with residents that generate more than two times the amount of waste each day than those on the nation’s other natively-inhabited islands. Malé is the largest contributor to the Thilafushi landfill—a former lagoon that is now known as “Rubbish Island.” In Malé, the tide is beginning to turn with the emergence of recycling and reuse initiatives, as well as growing educational programs. CCBO seeks to build upon and support these initiatives, as well as pilot new solutions that can be adapted to other island applications.
Each day, Peru generates more than approximately 20,000 tons of waste, or ~1.3 pounds of waste per capita. Compared to other countries, these volumes are quite low, however, inadequate waste management and infrastructure have amplified the impacts of Peru’s waste, with significant leakages of waste into the environment and improper and unsafe disposal of nearly half of the waste produced. With limited sanitary landfills throughout the country, inconsistent collection practices, and low recycling rates, urban, coastal, and in-land desert landscapes have become inundated with waste. Peru has made great progress in developing national laws for solid waste management, including its General Law of Solid Waste passed in 2000. It has since expanded and passed additional laws to protect the environment and human health, prioritize circular economies and the recovery and recycling of waste, and promote shared producer responsibility—however, local governments are challenged to effectively implement the laws, often faced by shortfalls in tax revenue and municipal capacity.
CCBO Engagement Sites:
- Piura – located in northwestern Peru, Piura is the most populous region after the country’s capital city of Lima. Piura generates an estimated 411,880 tons of waste per year, of which only 16% is adequately disposed of. The region lacks access to environmentally-sound sanitary landfill where waste can be safely stored, and its municipal collection services do not cover all residents. During El Niño season, Piura’s topography and desert climate leads to flooding that unleashes waste and plastics into the environment.
- Ica – located south of Lima, Ica is Peru’s agricultural center and home to famed Paracas National Reserve which protects both marine and desert ecosystems that are vital to biodiversity conservation and economic income for thousands of Peruvians.
In the waters around the more than 7,500 islands of the Philippines, large amounts of plastics are being leaked each day, driven by rising consumer consumption, dependencies on single-use plastics, and ineffective waste management systems. The Philippines estimates that 74% of this leakage is from waste that has already been collected—a strong indication that local, systemic change is needed to change the ways in which waste is being generated, managed, and treated long term. National laws, such as the Republic Act (RA) 9003/Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, and local regulations around solid waste management have been in place in the Philippines for many years. However, local government units that are responsible for waste management face inadequate financial resources, limited capacities for enforcement, and low public awareness of the harmful impacts of plastics in the environment.
CCBO Engagement Sites:
- Las Piñas and Pasig Cities – rapidly urbanizing residential-commercial centers located in Metro Manila along the coast of Manila Bay, which is now known as one of the most polluted bays in the world and a priority cleanup site for the Philippines government.
- Batangas City – a coastal city on the island of Luzon that stands as a significant center for marine biodiversity and tourism.
- Iloilo City – a highly urbanized city on the southeastern tip of Panay island that is a rapidly developing tourist hub, biologically significant marine area, and aspiring leader of clean, sustainable Philippine cities.
Globally, Sri Lanka is the fifth-largest source of ocean plastics pollution, an island nation, and a country with a steadily rising population. The country’s capital of Colombo generates 10% of the nation’s total waste, although its residents represent only ~2.5% of the national population and live within 1% of the country’s total land area. Sri Lanka’s waste management systems have struggled to keep pace as urban populations have grown, yet system funding, organization, and local government resources have remained static. With these systemic challenges, as well as varied waste management practices across the country, Sri Lanka is struggling to keep plastic and other wastes out of its marine and other natural environments, as well as maintain healthy and clean cities. Across the country, it is estimated that only 20% of households have access to public waste collection services, while 47% burn their waste, 23% dispose of it in their communities or natural environments, and about 8% practice backyard composting for organic waste. In Colombo, only 75% of waste generated is estimated to be collected.
CCBO Engagement Sites:
- Colombo Metropolitan Area – Sri Lanka’s capital and largest city by population. The metropolitan area is the country’s financial center and a popular tourist destination.
- Galle – located on Sri Lanka’s southwest coast and the country’s southern capital. Currently, Galle’s administration is working toward establishing the city as a healthy coastal city, branded as “Green City – Green Galle.”
- Jaffna District – home to the northern province’s coastal capital city and many commercial institutions, industrial operations, hotels, and government institutions. Following the Sri Lankan Civil War, Jaffna was one of the first districts in the region to develop industrial areas, using Sri Lanka’s rail system to transport manufactured goods throughout the country.
Vietnam’s growing urban populations, demand for consumer goods, and dependencies on single-use plastics continue to outpace its waste system capacities, leading to environmental leakage. With rapid urbanization, especially in the last decade, Vietnam’s urban population is expected to surpass its rural population by 2050. Despite relatively high waste collection rates in urban centers, it is estimated that roughly 27% of urban residents live in low-income and densely populated areas where collection can be challenging to deliver consistently. Vietnam has a coastline of over 2,100 miles and a seat on the Mekong and Red Rivers, where tons of plastics are picked up from communities along their paths and ultimately flow through to the ocean. Strengthening waste management in Vietnam and reducing its impact is critical as the Mekong is a major source of the ocean’s plastics.
CCBO Engagement Sites:
- Phú Quốc – Vietnam’s largest island, with a population of just over one hundred thousand and a burgeoning tourist sector.
- Da Nang – a coastal city with a number of ongoing local government and industry initiatives to become a greener, more sustainable city, aiming to reduce the over 1,000 tons of waste it generates each day.
- Bien Hoa – located twenty miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City, near the Mekong River Delta, Bien Hoa is an important and rapidly growing industrial and commercial area.
- Hue City- one of Vietnam’s larger urban areas, located on the central coast of Vietnam. Hue carries historical significance and is a popular area for tourism.