Sea surface of the Tianya Haijiao Scenic Spot

On March 27th, 2020, the Sanya Municipal People’s Government signed a letter of intent with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF)’s Beijing office. The letter stated that Sanya would join the WWF’s “Plastic Smart Cities” initiative. Sanya is the first city in China to join the initiative.

The WWF will help Sanya promote waste treatment and sustainable development, helping Sanya develop into a zero-waste model city and a demonstration area of “national ecological civilization.” The move will contribute to sustainable development in China and around the world.

The Plastic Smart Cities initiative was launched by the WWF in 2019. The initiative aims to bring cities and tourist destinations together to commit to fight plastic pollution by developing action plans, establishing circular economic projects, and testing innovative solutions. An online knowledge platform will be launched to help those on the front lines share innovative and tried and tested solutions in the fight against plastic pollution.

Vincent Kneefel, Global Cities Leader at the WWF, said that an estimated 60 percent of plastic marine debris derives from urban centers, and that trash is often carried to the ocean by rivers. Mismanaged plastic waste poses a profound threat to people and the environment, especially rivers and oceans. The WWF hopes to develop an alliance of 1,000 cities from around the world who by the year 2030 will join together in agreement to ban dirty plastics. At present, 20 cities around the world are delighted to be partnered with the WWF in this ambitious and crucial campaign.

In order to promote zero-waste city development, the Sanya government, along with enterprises and citizens, have formed a joint task force that will tackle solid waste management. The city has initiated green and environmentally-friendly programs in hotels, scenic spots, airport, cruises, and sea islets that will aim to help the city develop into a zero-waste city.

Sanya’s enrollment will set an example for other cities in China and around the world to become committed to sustainable development in resources and the environment. In the future, the WWF will also take action to support Sanya’s “zero-waste city” project, including by conducting research on new technologies and methods, improving waste management, and strengthening public education and international exchange, with the goal of helping Sanya become “plastic smart.”

“Sanya is the first city in China to join this global movement. We are looking forward to taking this opportunity to establish a long-term partnership with Sanya in order to demonstrate urban best practices regarding economic incentives, source reduction, waste collection, and recycling. We believe that these practices will also help inspire other cities. At the same time, the WWF will help bring more international projects and resources to Sanya that will help promote waste treatment and sustainable development,” said Lu Sicheng, Chief Representative and Director General of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Beijing office in China.