Plastic Smart Cities Croatia: Association Sunce detected a great interest for sustainable solutions among cities and municipalities

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, we are pleased to inform you about the great interest among Dalmatian cities and municipalities in taking part in the “Plastic Smart Cities Croatia” project.

This is a new project of Association Sunce Split that will take place within the administrative area of the project partner, i.e. the selected Dalmatian city or municipality. The project is financed in collaboration with WWF Mediterranean.

The goal of the activities planned as part of the project is reducing the plastic footprint through the implementation of measures for reducing or stopping the use of single-use plastics in the various segments of the local community’s social life as well as for better management of the plastic waste in one Dalmatian city or municipality. Through these activities we will try to raise awareness at both local and national levels about the causes and the consequences of plastic pollution for the environment, the marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and the human health.

At a time when we are more aware than ever of the fact that fragile ecosystems play a detrimental role in the spread of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the interest among the mayors of cities and municipalities in bringing change and measures for environmental protection gives us hope for a better future in which environmental protection and nature conservation will be in the focus of our interest.

After the call for project participants was addressed to 82 coastal cities and municipalities from four Dalmatian regions, 16 cities and municipalities expressed their interest in collaboration, out of which 11 proceeded to the second step which entailed filling out a detailed questionnaire about their waste management.

The goal of the questionnaire was to investigate the motivation for participating in the project and introducing measures concerning single-use plastics as well as the efficacy of the current waste management system and the expected systemic changes.

The cities and municipalities that filled out the questionnaire and thereby expressed their willingness to implement the project within their area are: Town of Solin, Town of Trogir, Town of Makarska, Town of Stari Grad, Town of Supetar, Municipality of Gradac, Municipality of Novigrad, Municipality of Sali, City of Dubrovnik, Municipality of Orebić, and Municipality of Lastovo.

In order to select a partner, the participation of which will lead to the successful implementation of the project and to the establishment of good practices at the level of Croatia and the Mediterranean, we defined criteria based on which we will proceed with the selection. Those are: expressed interest and motivation for participating in the project, efficacy of the current waste management system in the city or municipality, preparedness for sustainable waste management based on the “reduce, reuse, recycle” principle, marketing potential of the city or municipality, complexity of the project implementation relative to the population size and number of businesses, the presence of protected areas within the city or municipality boundaries and the impact of plastic pollution on them, and prior collaboration with the Association.

It is currently possible to select only one partner (city or municipality) that will participate in the project. Therefore, we want to thank the representatives of all interested cities and municipalities for expressing their motivation to implement this important project. As the following step, meetings will be held in order to conclude the selection of the project partner, which you will be informed about soon. At the same time, we are exploring ways for including all interested cities and municipalities.

We hope that in the near future we will have the opportunity to collaborate with all who expressed understanding and interest in reducing and stopping the use of single-use plastics as well as in improving the quality of life all over the Mediterranean, given that this area is a leading global tourist destination and is under pressure posed by waste pollution, and plastic in particular.

We would like to use this opportunity to stress once again how important our efforts to reduce the plastic footprint are, because they promote sustainable management of and coexistence with nature, which our future and our planet’s future depend on. We believe that we are aware of this more than ever now that we are living through the crisis caused by COVID-19.