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“Zero Waste” Project: A collective commitment to a waste-free ocean in Peru

Artisanal fishers, divers, and citizens collected 1.8 tons of waste in Paita and Máncora. 360 artisanal fishers were informed about waste management, marine pollution, and ghost gear.

Lima, March 11, 2024 - According to a report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2016), it is projected that by 2025, the ocean could contain one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish. In Peru, the foundation Algalita Marine Research and Education in 2017 discovered in front of our coasts and those of Chile, a plastic island of approximately 2.6 million square kilometers, evidencing a high level of contamination that threatens biodiversity and its habitats in the region.

In this context, WWF Peru, commissioned by USAID's Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program, initiated the implementation of the project "Zero Waste: Navigating towards the management and recycling of inorganic waste from artisanal fishers in Paita and Mancora". One of the activities developed within the framework of the project was the "Recyclathon", which took place from January 15th to February 15th, and consisted of a recycling contest among 23 artisanal fishing boats, which returned the waste generated during their fishing operations, managing to collect 198 kilos of waste, which will be used or disposed of correctly.

"The results that we observe in the Artisanal Fishing Landing Site (DPA) of Mancora are the product of the commitment and constant effort of all artisanal fishers to improve their waste management habits. Also, it is a result of the coordination with the District Municipality of Mancora. I invite more fishers to join, not only for the benefit of marine health but also for their families," said Julia Maturrano, WWF Peru Marine Program Officer and project leader.

Beach cleanings in Mancora and Paita

In addition, as part of the "HAZla por tu Playa" initiative within the framework of "Earth Hour", a group of 80 volunteers participated in two cleanings on the beaches of Mancora and El Toril, in Paita. Approximately 220 kilograms of waste were collected at both beaches, classified into usable, non-usable, and hazardous waste.


Also, in collaboration with the “Paita Association of Pulmonary Divers” (Asociación de Buzos Pulmoneros de Paita), a submarine cleanup was executed in Paita Bay, where 1400 kilograms of waste were extracted in just two hours of diving.  The activity was supported by the Municipality of Paita and the Association of Recyclers "Todos unidos por un futuro mejor" (All united for a better future).


"As divers, we know the level of pollution in Paita Bay and the damage it causes to the ecosystem. We are committed to continue doing submarine cleanups and we hope to continue working together to continue taking care of our environment," said Julio Benites, president of the “Paita Association of Pulmonary Divers”. 


The "Zero Waste" project also developed awareness-raising activities with the participation of 360 artisanal fishers, who were informed about waste management, marine pollution, and ghost gear, to develop a waste management model for each artisanal fishing landing site.