How tourism sector aims to curb plastic pollution

The ongoing pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard, putting more than 100 million jobs at risk. Now, as countries begin to recover and tourism restarts in a growing number of destinations, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, led by UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, has provided a plan of action for both public and private sector stakeholders to address the root causes of plastic pollution in these challenging times.

Not managing the transition into the new reality we are facing, including the strong focus on health and hygiene measures, in a responsible manner may have a significant environmental impact, which is why this renewed commitment is vitally important. The first signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative have been announced.

The ‘Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking Action on Plastic Pollution During COVID-19 Recovery’ illustrate how reducing the plastic footprint, increasing the engagement of suppliers, working closer with waste service providers, and ensuring transparency on the actions taken, can significantly contribute to the responsible recovery of the tourism sector.

Businesses and governments united

UNWTO secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili said: “As the tourism sector restarts, we have a responsibility to build back better. Not managing the transition into the new reality we are facing, including the strong focus on health and hygiene measures, in a responsible manner may have a significant environmental impact, which is why this renewed commitment is vitally important. We are proud to announce the first signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative today.”

When not properly disposed of, products such as gloves, masks and sanitiser bottles can end up polluting the natural environments around major tourist destinations.

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