On 5 December, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) launched its ‘Clean Cities, Blue Ocean’ (CCBO) program in Sri Lanka and Maldives, the most recent countries to join this flagship initiative to mitigate ocean plastic.
CCBO is a $48 million, five-year global initiative that helps countries improve solid waste management (SWM) and reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics (3Rs) in places that are at the heart of the global plastic pollution crisis, particularly in riverine and coastal areas.
In Sri Lanka and Maldives, the program will promote the 3Rs, strengthen local and regional markets for recycled plastic, and encourage people to adopt better waste management and recycling habits. CCBO will also increase effective governance of SWM and recycling systems and support public-private partnerships.
“Plastic flowing into oceans and other water sources is reaching crisis levels. The United States is contributing to Sri Lanka’s efforts to reach sustainable development goals and protect its environmental resources,” said USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives Reed Aeschlimann.
CCBO activities will also focus on private sector engagement; livelihood opportunities; tourism and economic development; empowerment of women and youth; sustainable urbanisation; marine biodiversity conservation and fisheries; and resilience through disaster risk reduction.
The program was announced during a workshop in Colombo that brought together several partners working under the Municipal Waste Recycling Program (MWRP), a $ 1.2 million US Government initiative that helps Sri Lanka reduce land-based sources of marine plastic waste pollution.
More than 40 participants from central and local government and the private sector explored opportunities for closer collaboration and provided feedback on how CCBO could best support new and ongoing efforts in the countries.