WWF is calling on cities in South East Asia to join Patong (Thailand), Donsol (Philippines) and Phú Quốc (Việt Nam) in making a commitment to eliminate plastic pollution, by developing an action plan and trial innovative solutions. Plastic Smart Cities is a WWF initiative bringing together cities and tourism destinations to commit to fight plastic pollution. In just the last 12 months WWF has fundraised 40 million USD to work on circular economy projects in cities in Thailand, Việt Nam, Indonesia and Philippines.
WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities program
An estimated 60% of plastic marine debris derives from urban centers, often carried to the ocean by rivers. While cities will rapidly increase their populace to account for two-thirds of the global population by 2050, they must urgently adopt smart solutions that reduce the collective impact of their prospering communities. This means preventing, minimizing and managing plastic. Many good examples and initiatives are already underway; WWF seeks to accelerate these existing efforts by empowering cities around the world to become Plastic Smart.
At Responsible Business Forum Singapore 2019, Chairman of the People’s committee of Phú Quốc District (Việt Nam) Mai Văn Huỳnh, Advisor to Mayor of Patong Municipality (Thailand) Kumnung Sing-Eaim and Mayor of Donsol (Philippines) Hon. Josephine Alcantara joins have signed Declaration of Intent into WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities program on behalf of their cities.
Through Plastic Smart Cities, WWF is building cities’ capacity to eliminate plastic pollution by 2030. An online knowledge platform with best practices will be launched at the World Urban Forum in February 2020. In the meantime, WWF is calling on Asian cities to sign-up and to start sharing best practices through www.plasticsmartcities.org. This is the beginning of a long-term campaign to reduce plastic globally through sharing innovative, tried and tested solutions for those on the front line in the fight against plastic pollution. Mayors also call on Governments to introduce a global legally-binding agreement to stop plastics polluting our oceans.
Delegates participated in the signing of Declaration of Intent into WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities
program on behalf of their cities at Responsible Business Forum Singapore 2019
Mr. Vincent Kneefel, Global Cities Lead, WWF: “With eight million metric tons of plastic entering our oceans each year, mismanaged plastic waste is profoundly threatening people and the environment, especially rivers and oceans. We are proud to launch Plastic Smart Cities today and are confident that through this initiative we can create a global movement of cities taking action to tackle plastic pollution and stop leakage into nature. Plastic Smart Cities will strengthen action when it comes to preventing, measuring and managing plastic waste at a local level. Our goal is to promote best practices around the world and to make sure that smart measures on plastic reduction and waste management are widely shared. With strong commitments from cities, Governments and industry, we can end additional plastics in nature and ensure the safety of our communities and the environment”.
Phú Quốc Island’s efforts in plastic waste reduction
For the last one year or so, WWF - along with the Phú Quốc District authority, businesses, schools and individuals - has made continuous efforts to reduce plastic waste on the island. Some remarkable results include the followings.
In June 2019, Phú Quốc District People's Committee issued a decision that orders all District offices not to use single-use plastic drinking water bottles and alternatively to use multiple-use water bottles and cups. Since July 2019, Phú Quốc has made the first Saturday of every month to be the “Environment Day”. On this day, the authority and people participate in cleaning up the surroundings of the island; Thousands of people have participated and hundreds of tons of improperly-disposed waste have been collected. All schools in Phú Quốc have responded to the awareness-raising campaigns on the impact of plastic waste on the environment, and many initiatives and specific actions have been implemented by teachers and students to reduce plastic waste in schools and to spread the message of reducing plastic waste to the community.
Currently, there are 19 resorts and hotels that have officially committed to reducing plastic waste with specific plans; 16 restaurants have committed not to serve customers with single-use plastic items. WWF and the island district have jointly developed an action plan for plastic waste management in Phú Quốc by 2025.
WWF Việt Nam
(Source: Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine, English Edition III - 2019)
Key stats on plastic pollution: