Salvador, Brazil; Santa Fe, Argentina; and Bangkok, Thailand, are latest cities to join initiative to tackle ocean plastic pollution.
January 16th, 2024 – Today, Ocean Conservancy, The Circulate Initiative, and Resilient Cities Network announced the third cohort of cities to join the Urban Ocean® program, which aims to prevent ocean plastic pollution and build more resilient communities. This new cohort of cities that will work with the Urban Ocean program to reduce plastic pollution, improve their waste management systems, and grow circular economies includes Salvador, Brazil; Santa Fe, Argentina; and Bangkok, Thailand. American Express provided a grant to support the Urban Ocean program in these three cities.
“For decades, the ocean has been bearing the brunt of the plastic pollution crisis, but cities have the power to be a catalyst for the solution. We are excited to see the Urban Ocean program continue to grow with so many communities coming together to reduce single-use plastics, apply principles of circularity, and prevent ocean plastic pollution,” said Daniel Sebastian Padilla Ochoa, Urban Ocean Project Director at Ocean Conservancy, on behalf of the Urban Ocean program.
“With 70% of its surface covered by rivers, lagoons and swamps, the city of Santa Fe has a profound relationship with water. Given its unique setting, we believe that Santa Fe shows great potential to realize the objectives of Urban Ocean for several reasons: We have been working towards the improvement of waste management in the city for more than 10 years, and we have an environmental governance system that enables us to execute these policies; Education and promotion of environmental stewardship, as well as the circular economy, are the fundamental axes of our environmental policy; and finally, the city already has a local climate action plan and GHG inventories. Within this context, we believe that Urban Ocean represents a crucial step to consolidate Santa Fe as a sustainable and resilient city,” said Guillermo Ferrero, Secretary of Urban Management and Environment of the Municipality of Santa Fe.
“Salvador’s beaches attract tourists and locals all year round. Unfortunately, they have been affected by a growing and alarming problem: plastic pollution. The amount of plastic waste found on the sands and oceans has been increasing, posing a real threat to the marine ecosystem and public health. Although the Municipality already has some actions focused on environmental education and circular economy, we believe that a collaborative project and joint efforts, such as Urban Ocean, will be of paramount importance so that we can preserve the natural beauty of our beaches, maintain marine conservation, and ensure a more sustainable future for generations to come,” said Marcelle Moraes, Secretary of Sustainability and Resilience of the Municipality of Salvador.
An estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year, with this number expected to triple by 2040. Urban Ocean aims to prevent ocean plastic pollution by supporting cities to develop projects that address the interrelated challenges of plastic pollution and infrastructure resilience. This includes reducing the amount of single-use plastic produced, improving waste management systems, promoting circular economy principles, and building awareness.
One example of the kind of work Urban Ocean supports include Panama City’s project to recycle marine plastic and transform it into furniture for public spaces around the city. With seed funding from Urban Ocean, the city acquired modern recycling technology that improved the process for recycling degraded plastic material, which now diverts up to 30 tons of plastic per month from the city’s only landfill.
Since 2020, the program has been implemented in nine cities, including Can Tho, Vietnam; Chennai, India; Melaka, Malaysia; Mumbai, India; Panama City, Panama; Pune, India; Santiago, Chile; Semarang, Indonesia; and Surat, India.
About Resilient Cities Network
Resilient Cities Network is the world’s leading urban resilience network. It brings together global knowledge, practice, partnerships, and funding to empower its members to build safe and equitable cities for all. Its unique city-led approach ensures cities drive the agenda to benefit the communities they serve. At work in 100 cities worldwide, the Resilient Cities Network supports on-the-ground projects and solutions to build climate resilient, circular and equitable cities while also facilitating connections and information-sharing between communities and local leaders. For more information, please visit resilientcitiesnetwork.org.
About Ocean Conservancy
Ocean Conservancy is working to protect the ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. Together with our partners, we create science-based solutions for a healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. For more information, visit www.oceanconservancy.org, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
About The Circulate Initiative
The Circulate Initiative is a non-profit organization that works to solve the plastic pollution challenge and build circular and equitable economies across emerging markets. It delivers cutting-edge research, builds high-impact programs, and drives collective action with industry stakeholders including businesses, investors, and policymakers. For more information, please visit: www.thecirculateinitiative.org.