Global Tourism Sector Urged to Continue Fighting Plastic Pollution

art-321-01‘Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking Action on Plastic Pollution During COVID-19 Recovery’, which can be viewed at https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/33240/PPCOVID.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

As the global tourism sector recovers from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a series of recommendations by the United Nations (UN) are calling for industry players to remain committed in their fight against plastic pollution, while maintaining public health and hygiene.

The ‘Recommendations for the Tourism Sector to Continue Taking Action on Plastic Pollution During COVID-19 Recovery’ – released on 22 July 2020 by the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative – is created for tourism stakeholders to support their continuous efforts in fighting plastic pollution during and after COVID-19.

The document demonstrates the significance of these stakeholders’ contribution towards a responsible recovery of the tourism sector through the reduction of the plastic footprint, increase of engagement with suppliers, close cooperation with waste service providers, and transparency on the actions taken.

It further focuses on the importance of cleaning and sanitation procedures, as well as ongoing and transparent communication with both staff and guests during and after the pandemic.

“When not properly disposed of, plastic products such as gloves, masks and hand sanitiser bottles end up polluting the natural environment around major tourism destinations,” said Ligia Noronha, Director of the Economy Division at UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in a press release on 22 July 2020.

“We need to take a science-based approach and support governments, business, and local communities to ensure we are taking the most effective measures to protect hygiene and health without creating pollution and causing harm to our natural environment.

“These recommendations addressing hygiene and disposable plastic can support tourism sector stakeholders in their efforts towards a responsible recovery,” she explained.

The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is led by UNEP and the World Tourism Organisation, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Developed within the framework of the Sustainable Tourism Programme of the One Planet network, a multi-stakeholder partnership to implement SDG 12 on Sustainable Consumption and Production, the initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution.

It also enables businesses and governments to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards a circularity in the use of plastics.

At present, signatories to the initiative include tourism businesses and organisations from across Africa, Asia and Europe, as well as global networks.

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