The European Investment Bank, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), and KfW established the Clean Oceans Initiative in October 2018 with the goal of funding €2 billion in efforts to reduce plastic waste by the end of 2023. It includes numerous tactics and measures to safeguard marine ecosystems, lessen marine pollution, and maintain the long-term health and vitality of our oceans. The programme focuses on managing waste, sewage, and storm water on a worldwide scale, with a special emphasis on riverine and coastal regions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. With €2.6 billion invested in 60 initiatives that will assist more than 20 million people living in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Europe as of February 2023, the programme has already met 65% of its goal.
The initiative’s principal goal is to address the problem of ocean plastic pollution. This entails putting policies in place to lessen the production of plastic trash, encourage recycling and waste management techniques, and create substitutes for single-use plastics.
It places a strong emphasis on the creation and administration of marine protected areas (MPAs) in order to protect vital maritime habitats, biodiversity, and ecosystems. These protected zones aid in the preservation of endangered species and offer safe haven for marine life.
The Clean Oceans Initiative actively promotes sustainable fishing methods. Promoting ethical fishing practices, upholding fishing quotas and rules, and preventing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing are all part of this.
Additionally, it supports initiatives aimed at eradicating current marine pollution and repairing damaged coastal and marine ecosystems. This may entail projects like beach clean-ups, the elimination of ghost nets, and coral reef and mangrove restoration.
The Clean Oceans Initiative promotes innovative thinking, technological development, and scientific study to better comprehend and combat ocean pollution. To lessen the impact on the oceans, this includes creating better waste management systems, creative recycling techniques, and alternative materials.
The project encourages worldwide collaboration and teamwork among governments, organizations, and stakeholders due to the transboundary nature of ocean pollution. This entails exchanging information, best practices, and resources in order to collaboratively address the issues affecting the seas of the world.
The Clean Oceans Initiative places a strong emphasis on educating the public about ocean protection and preventing pollution. The campaign seeks to encourage both individual and group activities towards more sustainable behaviors and responsible consumption by raising awareness.
Some of the major projects are listed below:
BUENOS AIRES WASTEWATER INFRASTRUCTURE AMENDMENT
The public health and environmental sustainability of Buenos Aires depend on the city’s wastewater infrastructure being improved. Water scarcity, poor sanitation, and pollution can all be addressed with the help of upgraded wastewater infrastructure. Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A. (AySA) received a loan from the EIB for the amount of $80 million to help upgrade the city of Buenos Aires’ water and wastewater infrastructure.
For sewage to be treated and processed correctly, wastewater treatment plants must be built that are contemporary and effective. Before wastewater is released into water bodies, these plants can remove impurities, reducing pollution.
Decentralized wastewater treatment systems can be used in places where centralized systems are not practical. In order to reduce the need for large infrastructure, these systems make use of smaller treatment facilities that are located closer to the source of wastewater.
The performance of current facilities can be greatly improved by updating the equipment, using cutting-edge treatment technologies, and implementing energy-efficient practices.
Utilizing stormwater management techniques in its wastewater infrastructure, which include collecting and treating rainwater runoff, lessens the strain placed on wastewater treatment plants during times of intense rainfall and prevents combined sewer overflow problems.
The city of Buenos Aires could experience less water scarcity if wastewater treatment and reuse technologies were developed. The need for freshwater resources can be decreased by using treated wastewater for non-potable uses like irrigation, industrial processes, and street cleaning.
The effective development of Buenos Aires’ wastewater infrastructure depends on the participation and dedication of numerous stakeholders, including local communities, water utilities, government organizations, and the corporate sector.
COTONOU STORM WATER MANAGEMENT AND FLOOD SAFETY
Cotonou, the economic capital of Benin which is stationed between Lake Nokoué and the Atlantic Ocean. Benin faced extensive flooding due to heavy rainfall in 2010 which led to huge destruction. Till date, heavy rains have continued to cause problems resulting in numerous plastics and other water materials entering Nokoué and the Gulf of Guinea polluting it. Cotonou will benefit from better storm water management and cyclical flood protection thanks to a €50 million loan from the EIB. The project aims for stormwater drainage along with improved coastal habitat. Floods in the vicinity of homes and rainfall stagnation in cities will be reduced. This would benefit 187,000 people in and around Cotonou while reducing plastic and other pollution in the Gulf of Guinea.
CLEANING THE WATERWAYS IN CENTRAL CHINA
Yangtze river in China is considered to be the most polluted waterways globally which is also the source for polluting the Pacific Ocean. The development of the country has posed a drawback to the environment. As a result of which, major steps are needed to restore the quality of water as a whole. The Green Urban Financing and Innovation Project aids local governments in enhancing water supply and general sewerage services. KfW Development Bank collaborated with the World bank and sanctioned a loan with an effort to stop pollution from ever entering the river and ocean. This strategy tackles the issue head-on, and it’s anticipated that its financing arrangement will serve as a template for future environment-friendly initiatives around the nation.
WASTEWATER IMPROVEMENT IN ALEXANDRIA
The wastewater treatment plant was built in Alexandria in the 1990s. Due to the increase in population it proved to be difficult in improving the water potability. Lake Mariout is facing the repercussions of the constant flow of sewage and microplastics thus disrupting the entire ecosystem. With the aid of sludge treatment that will generate biogas and consume less fossil fuels, the initiative hopes to lower the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.
Similarly, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Togo and the Caribbean Sea are also included in the project and the initiative is helping them in promoting sanitary sewerage and wastewater treatment along with solid waste management.
One of the main sources of ocean and coastal pollution is the irregular collection and disposal of residential, agricultural, and industrial trash. The rivers and subsequently the oceans are turned into open dumping grounds as a result of this waste not being handled appropriately. To keep plastics out of rivers, oceans, and coastal areas, waste must be collected, treated, and recycled. Improved trash management in ports and harbors will lessen the amount of plastic that ships release. Creative efforts that prevent plastic from entering the oceans or produce more reusable or biodegradable goods. During rainstorms and floods, plastics are prevented from entering rivers through storm water management in cities. The objectives are aligned keeping in mind the impact of pollution that is observed especially in the marine ecosystem.
Article by Tamanna Shaikh
Plastic: The inorganic cause of planet’s organic degradation