On World Oceans Day, the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) released three short films highlighting its recent efforts to reduce marine litter in two border watersheds, the Salish Sea (US-Canada) and the Tijuana River (US-Mexico).

With funding from the governments of Canada, Mexico, and the United States, the CEC undertook work to engage local communities in implementing local, low-tech actions to reduce and prevent waste from finding its way to the ocean.

“Marine litter is an urgent global problem with widespread repercussions on marine species, coastal communities and the future health of our oceans. What we have demonstrated is that local communities can cooperate across borders to take simple actions that make a big difference,” said César Rafael Chávez, CEC’s executive director.

Using a multi-stakeholder engagement approach, the project built local capacity, created new local knowledge, and engaged youth, local, and indigenous communities to strengthen future marine litter reduction initiatives in those regions.

The project was the first community-based marine litter reduction initiative to focus on North American border watersheds. By successfully piloting this community-based approach in these two regions, the CEC is demonstrating that local action is essential to solving marine litter and can be replicated in all coastal communities in North America.

Marine litter damages ecosystems and kills marine life, threatening our food supplies, tourism, the fishing industry, and our economies. North America is a significant contributor of land-based marine litter. Common trash from consumer goods in coastal and inland locations makes up the majority of trash that pollutes our waterways and oceans.

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