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Grant Programme against Marine Litter

Marine Litter

Marine Litter Ecuador (MarLi)


German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) GmbH


  • Supporting development policy and cross-sectoral coordination towards a circular economy in Ecuador
  • Local strengthening of waste management and improved monitoring systems through capacity building in selected pilot projects
  • Strengthening the capacities and awareness of non-governmental organizations for the reduction of plastics
  • Development of innovative plastic alternatives and waste prevention technologies and their dissemination through best practice examples throughout the region



2024-03-01 till 2027-02-28



Funding Amount

3,400,000.00 €

Reducing marine litter: What are the actual challenges in Ecuador?

The challenges of marine litter reduction in Ecuador are manifold. Especially in rural areas, there is a lack of resources and infrastructure for the effective collection and disposal of waste. It means that waste often ends up uncontrolled in the water. Estimates from the 1990s show that 2.7 million tons of waste are produced on the coast of Ecuador every year, of which 828,000 tons are not collected. The exact amount of marine litter is difficult to quantify due to a lack of official information.

The main sources of marine litter are both marine and terrestrial, with single-use plastic accounting for a significant proportion. Although the legal framework in Ecuador comprehensively regulates waste management, there is a lack of specific regulations and implementation tools to ensure efficient waste management. Despite various environmental education and awareness-raising initiatives, public participation and awareness of the problem is still low.

The reduction of marine litter therefore requires a coordinated effort at various levels, including the improvement of waste infrastructure, increased public education and a clear legal framework. Close collaboration between government, industry, civil society and local communities is crucial to develop sustainable solutions and minimize the impact of marine litter on Ecuador's coastal ecosystems.

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What contribution does the project make to reducing marine litter?

The comprehensive project strategy to combat marine pollution in Ecuador focuses on improving waste management, eliminating single-use plastic and reducing abandoned fishing gear. The main objectives are to strengthen capacities at national and local level, promote circular economy principles and support research and citizen science projects. The project’s focus is to support Ecuador in tackling the problem by strengthening the capacities of national institutions and local governments. The aim is to improve the efficiency of waste management.

This includes the implementation of local regulations to eliminate single-use plastics and reduce waste streams in coastal and marine ecosystems. A key component is working with private and scientific partners to develop options to prevent plastic waste. In addition, the project plans to support joint research and monitoring activities to prevent marine litter, which will improve coordination between all stakeholders. An extension of the project to the Galapagos Islands is being considered.