Reducing plastic waste is a global issue. Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) is USAID’s five-year, flagship global initiative to target ocean plastics at their source in cities and towns. Managed and funded through USAID headquarters in Washington, D.C. and implemented through a consortium of partners, CCBO is piloting solutions in Sri Lanka to stop the flow of plastic pollution to the waters within and surrounding the country through work in Colombo, the southern coastal city of Galle, and the northern coastal city of Jaffna. CCBO is supporting holistic strategies that address each step in the waste value chain – from production to end use – through critical site-level research, grants to local organizations, and additional technical assistance and capacity building support. 

Implementing Partner: Tetra Tech; Total Estimated Global Cost: $48 million (part of which is allocated to Sri Lanka); Period of Performance: October 2019 – September 2024


To keep plastic and other waste out of Sri Lanka’s marine environments and maintain healthy and clean cities throughout the island, CCBO seeks to:

  • Develop, test, and implement new models that promote reducing, reusing, and recycling (3R) practices and enhance solid waste management.
  • Facilitate partnerships and investment around key needs, such as infrastructure. 
  • Strengthen local systems to build Sri Lanka’s resiliency and self-reliance.

Areas of Focus

  • RESEARCH: CCBO conducts critical site-level research to understand engagement sites’ specific challenges in solid waste management and enforcement, behavior change, and barriers to private  sector investment.
  • GRANTS: The project awards grants to local partners to pilot solutions to stop the flow of plastic pollution into the waters within and surrounding the country.
  • CAPACITY BUILDING: CCBO provides technical assistance and capacity building support for local partners by offering state-of-the-art international and local technical expertise.
  • WOMEN’S ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT: Across its approach and activities, CCBO works to support and enhance the livelihoods of informal waste collectors, of which a large portion are women, and advance women’s economic empowerment by improving social and economic conditions that impede women’s ability to work successfully in solid waste management and recycling jobs.  


  • Awarded a grant to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce to enhance the enabling environment to promote the Extended Producer Responsibility policy approach in partnership with the government.
  • Awarded a grant to the Public Interest Law Foundation to help to create guidelines for the disposal of non-hazardous plastic waste, strengthen local solid waste management, and support recycling and disposal of plastic waste.