The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) recently published a new set of recommendations that outline how the global tourism sector can continue in its fight against plastic pollution while effectively facing the public health and hygiene challenges of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
According to the UNWTO, as countries begin to recover from Covid-19 and tourism restarts in a growing number of destinations, the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative 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.
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.
The following five recommendations are addressed to tourism stakeholders with the aim of supporting them to continue fighting plastic pollution during the Covid-19 recovery:
1. Remove unnecessary plastic packaging and items\to reduce cross contamination touch points;
2. Develop robust cleaning and sanitization procedures that encourage the adoption of reuse models;
3. Evaluate the use of unavoidable plastic packaging and items, enquire about their recyclability and reassess needs on a regular basis;
4. Engage suppliers, waste management providers and local governments to improve the effectiveness of actions, coordination and resilience;
5. Ensure open and transparent communication with staff and clients.
The Global Tourism Plastics Initiative unites the tourism sector behind a common vision to address the root causes of plastic pollution. It enables businesses and governments to take concerted action, leading by example in the shift towards a circularity in the use of plastics. Global tourism companies Accor, Club Med, and Iberostar Group have cemented their commitment to fighting plastic pollution and are three of the first official signatories to the Global Tourism Plastics Initiative, along with more than 20 signatories from across all continents.
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 Global Tourism Plastics Initiative is led by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UNWTO, in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.