© WWF Mesoamérica

“Circular Caribbean Cities” campaign was launched

The Project Prevention of plastic waste in the seas of Central America and the Caribbean (Circular Caribbean) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF Mesoamerica) presented the campaign "Circular Caribbean Cities" that seeks to raise awareness about the importance of preventing plastic pollution in the Caribbean Sea.

The campaign will be implemented from May of this year until February 2024 in the Dominican Republic, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras, through social and digital media, with special emphasis on cities on the Atlantic coast. With this communication effort, the entities that lead the campaign and their counterparts hope to call on different sectors such as central and municipal governments, private initiative and civil society so that each one gets involved and takes action.

The campaign is based on the premise that if different actions are taken from the cities and if all the aforementioned sectors participate, it is possible to prevent plastic waste from reaching the sea and polluting marine ecosystems in the Caribbean.

"Circular Caribbean Cities" will have three stages where each one will address a topic that will answer a question: the first will focus on how to adequately address the problem? illustrating the importance of implementing solutions from the roots in a comprehensive way, the second will answer the question who should participate in the solution? and it will focus on the role that each sector must assume and the third, when to face the problem? will address the urgency of implementing solutions to prevent an increase in the current situation.

In addition to the messages that are shared through social media, online seminars (webinars) will also be organized where cases that have been implemented in cities in these countries and examples from others will be presented so that they can serve as an example to be replicated in other cities. Each webinar will be held at each stage, to address the topics described. The first of these webinars will be held on June 13, within the framework of International Oceans Day, the second will be held on October 31 in commemoration of World Cities Day, and the third, on October 26. January 2024 for World Environmental Education Day.

Importance of taking action

According to the organizing entities, pollution by plastic waste in the sea originates, to a large extent, from the cities. This reality is generated for reasons such as: consumption habits (in general) not reducing the consumption of single-use plastics, having an inadequate final disposal of said waste, lack of or non-compliance with regulations, few alternatives for correct final disposal, persistence of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled, as well as a lack of knowledge on how to handle plastic waste.

Jair Urriola, Executive Secretary of the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) announced that "the issue of reducing pollution by plastics and the circularity of economic production processes is very important and therefore from the CCAD and with the support of the Secretary of Environment and Ecology of the State of Quintana Roo (SEMA) we work together to avoid the dumping of plastic waste in the Caribbean Sea through the Circular Caribbean project. He added that "with this campaign we want to broaden the reach of the message of the project"

Romy Stanzel, director of the Circular Caribbean Project indicated that "this campaign is very important since through it we intend to sensitize people at the regional level so that they act in favor of the adequate and comprehensive management of solid waste, especially plastics from a only use". She added that "the pollution of the oceans by plastic waste is one of the most relevant global environmental challenges of recent times and therefore the importance of informing people."

Andreas Lehnhoff, director of WWF Mesoamerica, presented some figures that reflect the need to address the issue, due to the impact that this problem is already generating: "According to data based on science, worldwide, 60% of marine plastic debris comes from cities. 75% of the plastic that has been produced in the world is already waste, 80% of the plastic present in the ocean comes from waste that originated in terrestrial areas. By 2030 plastic production will have increased by 40%”. In addition, he highlighted the importance of countries in the region adhering to the binding global treaty to stop plastic pollution that WWF is also promoting internationally.

More information about the campaign can be found at https://bit.ly/circularcaribbeancities