Publication

Urban Ocean: Chennai

Urban Ocean is helping Chennai identify gaps in its solid waste management system towards bringing circularity in the city's solid waste management.
Jun 2023

Chennai, India, the capital of Tamil Nadu along the Bay of Bengal, has three rivers flowing into the bay, a network of canals, and numerous man-made lakes (‘erys’). However, it faces significant waste management challenges with the highest per capita waste generation in the country – 0.71 kg of solid waste per day (Greater Chennai Corporation, 2021). In one instance, after heavy rains caused flooding of the Adyar River in 2021, the city collected 218 tons of plastic from a single location in the southern part of the city (Omjasvin, 2021).

Through the Urban Ocean program, Chennai aims to identify gaps in its solid waste management system that contribute to leakage and leverage opportunities towards bringing circularity in the city’s solid waste management.


Project Statement

Bringing Circularity in Chennai’s Solid Waste Management focuses on collectively addressing solid waste management and leakage challenges by leveraging collaborations across active and interested citizens, local officials, private companies and NGOs to move the city towards becoming a near zero waste and plastic free environment. 

The Project Statement outlines the city’s vision for the project and the impact it aims to achieve, highlighting the urgency of the issue and the importance of taking immediate action.

Read Chennai’s Project Statement


Circularity Assessment Protocol (CAP) Report

Between September 2021 and December 2021, a team from Okapi Advisory Services, with guidance and support from the Circularity Informatics Lab, conducted fieldwork in the city of Chennai. The CAP was conducted with support from the city’s local government, the Chief Resilience Officer, and the larger Urban Ocean Team.

The CAP, developed by the Circularity Informatics Lab at the University of Georgia, is a standardized method of collecting community-level data on plastic usage to inform decision-makers. 

Read Chennai’s CAP Report


Urban Ocean is a capacity-building and accelerator program to end ocean plastic pollution and build more resilient communities in cities. Urban Ocean champions circular economy principles, builds awareness of ocean plastic, assesses waste management systems and supports cities to develop projects that address the interrelated challenges of ocean plastics and resilience. Since 2020, the program has been implemented in cities across Asia and Latin America. The program is jointly implemented by Resilient Cities NetworkOcean Conservancy and The Circulate Initiative.

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