A joint project of WWF, City of Dubrovnik, and Association Sunce Split: Dubrovnik becomes Croatia’s first Plastic Smart City

Photo: Dubrovnik mayor Mato Franković signing the agreement

As part of the Plastic Smart Cities Croatia project, which is implemented in cooperation with Association Sunce Split and WWF, the City of Dubrovnik committed to reducing its plastic footprint by eliminating single-use plastics as well stopping the inflow of plastics into nature by 2030.

Association for Nature, Environment, and Sustainable Development Sunce and international organisation Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) – Mediterranean signed a cooperation agreement with the City of Dubrovnik in the framework of Plastic Smart Cities Croatia project, which goal is reducing the plastic waste in our sea.

In order to motivate cities around the globe to reduce plastic pollution, WWF started the Plastic Smart Cities initiative, which pursues goals in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project period is two years, over the course of which different activities are planned with the goal of reducing the plastic footprint through the implementation of measures for reducing or stopping the use of single-use plastics in the various segments of City’s social life as well as better management of plastic waste. In cooperation with the partners, the City of Dubrovnik will develop an implementation plan and initiate a pilot project with the goal of reducing plastic pollution by 30% within two years.

The City of Dubrovnik has a population of 42,000 inhabitants as well as over 4 million overnight stays a year. Mass tourism creates a significant pressure on the use of natural resources and waste management in the city. As a leading tourist destination in Croatia, the City of Dubrovnik wants to contribute to reducing its own plastic footprint by joining this initiative and thereby setting an example for other cities in Croatia given that the struggle with plastic waste is something that we, as a society, have to face more ambitiously.

This project also represents a continuation of efforts and activities taken by the City of Dubrovnik in line with stimulating sustainable development and the development of sustainable tourism in the city.

Throughout the implementation of the project activities, emphasis will be put on raising awareness among the citizens of the City of Dubrovnik, and eventually of all citizens in Croatia, about the causes and consequences of plastic pollution for the environment, the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and the human health.

The next step in the project is the preparation of an analysis that will provide an overview of the current state in the city, the amounts of single-use plastics that is being used, and the plastic waste management system as well as the alternatives to certain single-use plastic products. Thereafter, the preparation and adoption of the implementation Plan with measures that will be implemented in the second year of the project, i.e. 2021, follow.  Croatia generates 400kTs of plastic waste each year or 96 kg of plastic per capita. Among the 22 Mediterranean countries in the region, Croatia is the tenth-highest manufacturer of plastic products and has the third-highest per capita waste generation, which attests to the high level of production and consumption of plastics. Plastic is all around us, not only in our kitchen cupboards and clothing, but also in our waterways, in the sea and on the beach. Prior efforts that Croatia has put into reducing plastics that pollute our environment have not been sufficient. Therefore, stronger engagement at all levels of government is needed on top of the contribution of each one of us given that the environmental responsibility of individuals also plays a key role in resolving this problem. We have witnessed that positive changes are possible—the news about ending the use of plastics on the island of Zlarin as well as within the city administrations of several cities in Croatia (Medulin, Poreč, Vrgorac…) made headlines in all national media. Through this project, the City of Dubrovnik will continue introducing changes for the better when it comes to the issue of waste, i.e. plastic waste. We also believe that many other cities and municipalities in Croatia will follow this example in the future.