How can we reduce the amount of plastic waste in the Caribbean Sea? Help us explore solutions for how countries in the Caribbean basin, shipping traffic and countries bordering the Atlantic can help to reduce the plastic waste stream entering the Caribbean Sea.
To find ways to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the Caribbean Sea, and address the amount of plastic disposed of incorrectly from land as well as from shipping traffic. We're seeking ideas which could be actionable by various sectors e.g. the hotel sector; the restaurant sector; the manufacturing/packaging sector; etc. by devising a set of sustainable, human-centered, and financially-viable solutions for reducing, recycling and reusing plastic in the Caribbean Sea Basin countries.
Best Idea: $150 | Second Best Idea: $100
Best Photo/Caption: $100 | Second Best Photo/Caption: $50
Winners of the competition will also be featured on the websites of Institute of Caribbean Studies and Caribbean Youth Environment Network.
The Caribbean Sea is designated a Special Zone. The Caribbean contains some of the world's richest marine biodiversity. In the sea and along island coastlines, the region harbors 10% of the world's coral reefs, 1,500 fish and marine mammal species, 15,000 plant species and mile after mile of mangrove forests.
The Caribbean Sea is being increasingly threatened by unsustainable development, pollution, overfishing and climate change. Warming oceans and overfishing are damaging coral reef ecosystems that provide vital marine habitat to thousands of species and protect coastlines from severe erosion and flooding. Mangrove forests, which also protect coastlines, as well as provide carbon sequestration, are being destroyed by over-development and/or unmanaged waste. Land-based sources of pollution from unmanaged waste from the Caribbean countries, waste from shipping traffic as well as waste from other oceans are also threatening the viability of the Sea. In 2016, the International Coastal Clean-up Day event across the Caribbean removed some 402,993 pounds (approx. 210 tons) of marine debris from beaches in 22 countries. It is estimated that 55% of all the items found were plastic.
While the 37 nations and overseas territories of the Caribbean are separated by water, it is this shared resource -- the Caribbean Sea—that unites them. Thus the peoples and governments of the Caribbean must work together to address the growing threats to the Sea.
Key to the challenge of plastic litter in the Caribbean Sea, is an understanding of the particular challenges of solid waste management in the Caribbean region, in particular, small islands. Most recycling systems are designed for large cities and towns. Recycling is much more than a philanthropic issue. Usually there needs to be financial benefit for the systems to be adopted and adapted. As such, it has been a challenge for cash-strapped Caribbean islands to get recycling off the ground. Attempts at reduction have been sporadic with only a few governments such as Haiti, discussing the banning of non-biodegradable plastics. However, if we do not find ways to reduce, reuse and recycle plastics in the Caribbean, not only will be continue to outgrow our landfills, we will also continue injuring the life of the Caribbean Sea. This is not sustainable.
This challenge has been developed by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (Washington DC), Development Foresight Institute (Jamaica); and Caribbean Youth Environment Network in order to raise awareness of this critical challenge and identify crucial messages or projects that we can organize around.