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Grant Programme against Marine Litter

Marine Litter

Clean Caribbean: An integrated, public-private approach to reduce marine litter in the Caribbean coast of Guatemala and Honduras

Grantee

  • WWF Deutschland

Actions

  • Develop and implement circular solutions with citizens
  • Implement circular economy pilot projects together with private sector stakeholders
  • Establish enabling conditions for extended producers responsibility (EPR)
  • Provide technical support and capacity building for city governments

Duration

ongoing

2023-05-01 till 2026-10-31

Location

Guatemala and Honduras

Funding Amount

4,642,992.00 €

Reducing marine litter: What are the actual challenges in Honduras and Guatemala?

The Caribbean Sea is characterized by a rich diversity of species, including numerous fish and coral species, sea turtles, sharks, mangroves and sea grasses. A network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) offers much-needed protection for coastal-marine biodiversity and ecosystems while also providing economic benefits by serving as tourism destinations. These unique coastal-marine ecosystems face multiple threats: Among them are overfishing, unregulated coastal development, sedimentation due to erosion from unsustainable land use and from agriculture, as well as climate threats linked to ocean warming and acidification. In addition, marine plastic litter is becoming an increasing threat.

The neighbouring Central American countries of Guatemala and Honduras share access to the Caribbean coast. Growing plastic pollution is a concern for both, as it impacts biodiversity and ecosystems, as well as economic development for agriculture and tourism. Also, floating plastic in waterways clogs up drainage systems, interferes with irrigation systems, obstructs access to clean water, riverbanks, and beaches, and is confused for food by marine wildlife. Plastic waste often originates inland and finds its way to ocean through several large rivers. The Motagua river alone carries waste from 63 cities, including Guatemala City, the country’s capital and largest city. Waste management systems are insufficient in both countries: More than 85% of plastic waste is burned or disposed of at unmanaged landfills, and recycling structures rarely exist. Current economic, political and regulatory structures to reduce plastic production and pollution, and to strengthen a circular plastic economy, are limited and hardly implemented, including Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations which could help to reduce plastic waste and to keep plastic in the loop.

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What contribution does the project make to reducing marine litter?

WWF’s project “Clean Caribbean: An integrated, public-private approach to reduce marine litter in the Caribbean coast of Guatemala and Honduras” aims to reduce plastic waste inputs into the Caribbean sea, and thus to increase the protection of coastal-marine habitats. To this end, the project aims at

  1. Motivating end consumers to reduce and to responsibly manage recyclable waste at the source (e.g. development of recycling routes and behaviour change activities
  2. Engaging the private sector in circular economy activities (through demonstration projects on circular business approaches)
  3. Establishing enabling conditions for Extended Producer Responsibility, and
  4. Improving capacities of city governments to manage solid waste. The project will be implemented with various stakeholders in cities located along the rivers Motagua (GT), Chamelecon (HN) and Ulua (HN) which carry massive volumes of solid waste into the ocean.

The approach addresses the immediate problem of deficient solid waste management as well as the underlying drivers of plastic pollution. The project brings together Guatemalan and Honduran national and local government authorities, private sector actors, and 300,000 end-consumers to develop viable and integrated solutions to reduce the generation of plastic waste.