Cities are hotspots for plastic pollution, yet they are also the key to any solution. Amsterdam is the first city in the world to join WWF’s Plastic Smart Cities movement to become plastic pollution free.
Why cities must act
Every year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic enters our ocean. A large part of this plastic marine debris derives from urban centers, as polluted waterways carry plastic pollution to the ocean. With the current forecasted population growth, cities are expected to account for two-thirds of the global population by 2050. Therefore, cities have a major role to play in finding solutions for plastic pollution. They must urgently adopt smart solutions that reduce the collective impact of their prospering communities. This means preventing, minimizing and managing plastic. By signing the Plastic Smart Cities declaration of intent on June 20, 2019, Amsterdam affirmed their commitment to solve the problem and became the first city to support the WWF Plastic Smart Cities Initiative.
How do cities become Plastic Smart?
Plastic Smart Cities is a global movement led by Cities and Tourism Destination Centers in a concerted effort to fight plastic pollution. Through Plastic Smart Cities, WWF is connecting city stakeholders with vetted solutions to eliminate plastic pollution by 2030, with cities designating a pilot area for best practice implementation, and with the initial goal to reduce plastic pollution by 30% by 2021. Cities also commit to developing a monitoring action plan and sharing progress and best practices on www.PlasticSmartCities.org.
Thumbs up for Amsterdam
Amsterdam already leads several initiatives to combat plastic pollution through Amsterdam Clean Water, a cooperation between stakeholders such as the city, port, waterboard and Plastic Soup Foundation. Through this collaboration, water tap points have been installed, an education program is being developed and technological solutions for removing plastic from the canals will be tested.
More cities will follow example
Kirsten Schuijt, CEO of WWF-Netherlands: “Amsterdam is an iconic and international city. It makes me proud that Amsterdam is the first city to join. With the support of the city of Amsterdam, I am confident that more cities, such as Oslo, Marseille, Hong Kong and many others, will follow their example. Knowledge and experience we gain here is also applicable in cities where the problem is of a greater magnitude.”
Global problem needs international solutions
In order to work towards No Plastic In Nature in 2030, WWF collaborates with governments, companies and citizens on new policy standards, new incentives for industry, and new models of innovation for plastic avoidance, use, reuse and better waste management. In the Netherlands, WWF NL partners with the Plastic Soup Foundation, who will assist the city of Amsterdam in the development and execution of action plans and provide their knowledge and expertise.
Knowledge manager plastics, Merijn Hougee, email@example.com
Global Cities lead, Vincent Kneefel, firstname.lastname@example.org
The amount of plastic entering the ocean is projected to grow four-fold by 2050. Transformative changes, including moving away from single-use towards re-useable packaging, are needed to save our oceans, say Vincent Kneefel and John Duncan.