SICA: Preventing plastic waste in Central America and the Caribbean

Project description

Title: Prevention of plastic waste in the Central American and the Caribbean Sea
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union (EU)​​​​​​​
Country: Guatemala (headquarters), Belize, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico​​​​​​​
Lead executing agency: Central American Commission for Environment and Development (CCAD) of the Central American Integration System (SICA), Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico (SEMA))​​​​​​​
Overall term: 2020 to 2024



Plastic waste is polluting the Caribbean Sea and contributing to the increasing destruction of its ecosystems. The ecosystems have many important functions for the environment and are the basis for key economic sectors in the region, such as fishing and tourism.

To preserve these ecosystems, plastic waste must be prevented from entering the ocean. At the same time, the amount of existing plastic waste needs to be reduced. However, recycling systems in the region are frequently underdeveloped. Often, only valuable materials like metals are recycled, while plastics end up in landfill sites. The private sector does not have the skills needed for sustainable waste and environmental management. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness in the private sector and in society around the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Inspección de escamas, Guatemala; Ringhof, E.


The political, economic and social frameworks for preventing plastic waste from entering the Caribbean Sea have improved.


The project supports the Central American Commission for Environment and Development (Comisión Centroamericana de Ambiente y Desarrollo, CCAD), the member countries of the Central American Integration System (Sistema de la Integración Centroamericana, SICA), and the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the State of Quintana Roo, Mexico (SEMA) in four areas:

  • Promoting regional dialogue
    The project organises networking opportunities for interest groups to strengthen dialogue around the project’s theme.
  • Strengthening the private sector
    The project promotes business models that use innovative value chains to improve plastic footprints.
  • Implementing pilot projects
    The project implements pilot projects that use models to prevent plastic waste, and assesses their effectiveness.
  • Raising awareness among the public and the private sector
    The project runs local and regional campaigns to help raise awareness of the project’s theme in civil society and private enterprises.

Last update: January 2022

Punto Limpio, Tulum, México; Ringhof, Eva