• Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Federated States of Micronesia generate over 280, 165, and 15 metric tons of plastic waste every day, respectively¹
  • Municipal governments collect as little as 20-30 percent of solid waste on the Islands
  • In some Pacific Island countries, over 70% of total municipal solid waste is illegally dumped or burned

Each day, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, and the Federated States of Micronesia generate on average nearly six kilograms of waste per person—the equivalent of each person using 24 one-liter plastic bottles every day. While this volume is comparatively low, communities in Pacific Island countries face significant waste management challenges, including irregular and inefficient waste collection and limited opportunities for recycling. Pacific Island countries may not produce much plastic waste, but they are on the receiving end of significant amounts of waste due to ocean currents bringing other countries plastic waste to their shores. Across the Pacific Islands, solid waste management is also hampered by insufficient financial resources; limited land area; customary land ownership; environmental fragility; insufficient human, financial, and transportation capacity and regulatory frameworks. 

It is estimated that many urban areas, which comprise 35 percent of the total Pacific Island population or roughly 4.3 million people²— collect less than half of the municipal solid waste generated. Most waste is illegally dumped in vacant areas or in the ocean or collected in piles and burned. Waste burning releases harmful chemicals, impacting public and environmental health and contributing to climate change. Given the limited recycling capacity in the Pacific Islands, plastic waste is often dumped, burned, or disposed of in landfills. By 2040, if corrective measures are not implemented, the annual volume of plastic entering the ocean from the Pacific Islands is expected to triple. 


USAID will provide regional and country-level support in engagement sites in three Pacific Island countries—the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea. At each engagement site USAID is piloting localized approaches to address waste management challenges and avert irreversible damage to our oceans, reduce plastic and waste-linked contributions to the climate crisis, and advance other priority development objectives. 


USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program is designing holistic strategies that will address each step in the waste value chain—from production to end use—prioritizing the most inclusive, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable solutions. The program will leverage local, national, and international technical expertise, paired with its grants program, to test, scale, and share locally-led, innovative, and proven solutions. Where possible, the program will learn from and expand on the success of proven initiatives by local government and non-governmental organizations. 

The program’s work supports USAID’s Five Building Blocks for Reduced Ocean Plastic Pollution:

USAID is concentrating assistance in the following areas: 

  • Build local government capacity – USAID will facilitate a Solid Waste Capacity Index for Local Government assessment, or SCIL, in select cities so that local governments can improve their capacity to develop and implement robust solid waste management systems.
  • Provide technical assistance – USAID will provide technical assistance through the provision of experts/specialists in solid waste management, marine litter, dumpsite remediation, recycling, materials recovery facility, and others.
  • Pilot local solutionsUSAID will provide small-grant awards to local organizations to demonstrate locally based solutions and promote the practice of the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) at the community level.
  • Strengthen partnerships and multi-stakeholder alliances At the regional level, CCBO will engage other development partners working to reduce ocean plastic pollution. CCBO, in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environmental Programme, an intergovernmental organization that ensures the protection and sustainable development of the Pacific Island region’s natural resources, will support the development of the Pacific Stakeholders Landscape Analysis Report and implement and potentially update its Pacific Regional Action Plan on Marine Litter 2018-2025.


CCBO is USAID’s flagship program to combat ocean plastic pollution. The five-year (2019-2024), $53 million program works at the global level and in specific, rapidly urbanizing focal countries to target ocean plastics directly at their source. By strengthening waste management and advancing or building circular economies, city by city, USAID builds sustainable solutions that reduce ocean plastics while empowering vulnerable populations and mitigating pollution that affects human health and our climate. The program is implemented by Tetra Tech, in partnership with a consortium of organizations that include the International City/County Management Association and The Manoff Group. Other partners include national and local government, members of the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and local women’s and youth organizations.

¹2022. PNG Conservation and Environment Protection Authority. Plastic Waste in the Ocean in the Pacific Island Region. Plastic Waste Dataset Modified February 11, 2022.
²2022. Pacific Data Hub, Population Dashboard. Accessed at


Marian Navata                               Rene Acosta
Urban Planning Specialist       Asia Regional Director        

Nidatha Martin
USAID Papua New Guinea

Rodger Garner
USAID Country Coordinator
Federated States of Micronesia

Herman Semes, Jr.
USAID Federated State of Micronesia

Michael Glees

For general program inquiries please contact Clean Cities, Blue Ocean at