Ocean Plastics Media Scan: December 2019
Disclaimer: This media scan is intended to share current news and information related to ocean plastics. Items included are not endorsed by and do not represent the views of USAID or the U.S. Government.
Deal Street Asia: Circulate Capital raises $106m to address Asia’s ocean plastic crisis
Circulate Capital announced its first close of the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund, dedicated to tackling Asia’s ocean plastics crisis, at $106 million. The fund will provide both debt and equity financing to waste management, recycling, and circular economy businesses in South and Southeast Asia. To date, Circulate Capital has identified more than 200 investment opportunities in India, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines, and plans to invest between $2 million and $10 million in 20-25 companies. In April 2019, Circulate Capital and USAID finalized an agreement to leverage more than $100 million through a 50 percent loan portfolio guarantee managed by USAID’s Development Credit Authority.
Asian Venture Philanthropy Network: Surfacing Innovative Solutions for Reducing Marine Plastic Pollution
A new report by the Asian Venture Philanthropy Network evaluates accessible and innovative solutions to reduce marine plastic pollution in four of the five highest plastic waste contributing countries: Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. The report provides a desk analysis of the current landscape in these countries, highlights interventions applied to date, and identifies challenges and opportunities for future investments.
New research suggests that there could be a million times more microplastics floating in our oceans than previously thought. Some microplastics – defined as plastic fragments measuring less than 5 mm – are too small to be caught in the nets traditionally used to collect samples, allowing them to go uncounted in previous studies. A new technique analyzing seawater salps, – tiny, barrel-shaped filter feeders –enabled the discovery of previously undetected mini-microplastics.
On December 5, USAID launched its Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program in Sri Lanka and Maldives, the most recent countries to join this flagship initiative to mitigate ocean plastic. CCBO is a $48 million, five-year global initiative that helps countries improve solid waste management and reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics in places that are at the heart of the global plastic pollution crisis. In Sri Lanka and Maldives, the program will promote sustainable waste management and reduction strategies, encourage communities to adopt supportive behaviors, and develop solutions to improve the livelihoods of those that work in the waste management sector.
Ghost gear – abandoned, lost or otherwise discarded fishing gear such as traps, nets, and pots – makes up approximately 10 percent of all plastic marine debris. Ghost gear can cause severe damage to marine wildlife populations and their habitats. To mitigate and prevent the destructive potential of ghost gear, it is critical to remove such gear from marine environments and recycle the materials into new products. A new market for these so called ‘green plastics’ is emerging, and many companies are buying into the movement, with items such as skateboards, sunglasses, athleisure wear and jewelry produced from old fishing gear.
VN Express International: US promises to help Vietnam clean up marine plastic pollution
Vietnam is the world’s fourth largest polluter, producing six percent of the world’s marine plastic debris. The United States is committed to helping Vietnam build environmentally sound waste management systems and address the existing ocean plastics crisis. USAID supports locally led waste management initiatives with two funds, the Municipal Waste Recycling Program (2016-2021) which has provided $1.4 million in grants to innovative waste management models, and the recently launched $48 million, global Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program (2019-2024). Learn more about USAID’s ocean plastic programs.