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Save Our Seas Initiative

Ending Ocean Plastic Pollution

Global Initiative – 2022–Ongoing

GLOBAL, 2022–ONGOING – The Save Our Seas Initiative is a USAID initiative to combat ocean plastic pollution globally. It includes 14 national and regional USAID programs in key countries and regions contributing to the flow of plastic waste into the ocean.

Featured Event

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Photo: A group of Indonesian children collect shellfish from the shallow waters surrounding their seaside village.

Ending Ocean Plastic Pollution: USAID’s Save our Seas Initiative One Year In

In honor of World Oceans Day, USAID invites you to join us and our partners for a virtual event to reflect on what we’ve achieved one year after launching our $103 million Save Our Seas Initiative.

About the Save Our Seas Initiative

Ocean plastic pollution has reached crisis levels: every minute an entire garbage truck's worth of plastic enters the world's oceans—amounting to an alarming 11 million metric tons per year. This rate is expected to double by the end of this decade and triple by 2040. This deluge of plastic is threatening the world’s delicate marine ecosystems, global industries such as fishing and tourism, food security, and ultimately human health.

USAID launched the Save Our Seas Initiative in June 2022 with the goal of ending the flow of plastic pollution into the ocean by 2040. The Save Our Seas Initiative supports implementation of the landmark Save Our Seas Act 2.0 of 2020 - the comprehensive, bi-partisan legislation passed by Congress in December 2020 to conserve oceans at home and abroad. The Save Our Seas act instructed the State Department and USAID to develop strategies and implement programs to combat ocean plastic pollution.

Through the Save Our Seas Initiative USAID is implementing programs to reduce the flow of ocean plastic pollution in over 25 cities across more than 10 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Pacific Islands. The countries and regions where USAID is working collectively represent approximately 40 percent of total global mismanaged plastic waste.

Once plastic is in the ocean, it is very difficult and expensive to remove. Thus, USAID focuses on stopping plastic from entering the ocean in the first place. Under the Save Our Seas Initiative, USAID is partnering with local and national governments, businesses, civil society and other organizations to improve solid waste management and help countries reduce, re-use, and recycle plastic.

Annual Report

Save Our Seas Initiative Annual Report 2022–2023

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As the lead agency since the Initiative launched in June 2022, USAID has supported programs in areas that represent 40 percent of total global mismanaged plastic waste, preventing over 60,000 metric tons of plastic and other materials from leaking into the environment.

Global Program

News & Information

For More Information

Sustainable Urbanization

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Rapid urbanization is today’s defining development trend. When USAID was founded in 1961, roughly 34 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. By 2030, that figure will rise to over 60 percent as cities and towns become home to more than 1.4 billion additional people. Nearly all of this growth and movement will take place within the developing world, much of it in fragile states.