Latin American, Caribbean scouts join the global fight against plastic pollution

The Interamerican Scout Region and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) team up to reward young people who drastically reduce their plastic footprint. Scouts in the region will undertake the Clean Seas Badge Challenge to reduce single-use plastics. Young leaders will inspire their families, schools and communities to change their consumption habits.

Panama City, 01 November 2019 - Thousands of scouts from Latin America and the Caribbean will join global efforts against marine litter by taking a 10-week challenge to reduce single-use plastics as part of the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Clean Seas campaign.

UNEP is teaming up with the Interamerican Scout Region to launch the Clean Seas Badge Challenge, which builds on the traditional Scout badge system to reward youngsters who drastically reduce their plastic footprint and mobilize their families, schools and communities to transform the consumption habits.

The initiative is reaching countries in Latin America and the Caribbean this October, following in the footsteps of success of badge challenges against plastic pollution in Scouts’ Associations of Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Tanzania and Uganda since 2017.

“Young people are leading the fight for a more sustainable planet.  With the Clean Seas Badge Challenge, the new generations will show the kind of courage we need to face the global scourge of plastic pollution and its dramatic effects,” said Leo Heileman, UNEP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“Since the Scout Movement was founded 112 years ago, environmental protection has been at the heart of the work of all our members,” said Raúl Sánchez, Director of the Interamerican Scout Region, which comprises 34 countries in the Americas. “The Clean Seas Badge Challenge allows us to support the global effort to reduce the use of disposable plastics in order to curb their impact on marine life, which is essential for the well-being of the entire planet.”

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To earn the badge in one of its three levels – gold, silver and bronze – each scout must evaluate the types of disposable plastic used in his daily life, such as straws, bags, cups or plastic bottles, and commit to reducing the use of one of these articles during 10 weeks. The gold badge will be awarded to Scouts who also lead marine litter campaigns and activities reaching at least 300 people.

“The Scouts Association of Mexico AC is fully committed to the planet, its ecosystems and our social environment. At all times we inspire children and youth to be active agents of change to achieve sustainable development. Strengthening the values ​​of youth, we will achieve a better world," said Pedro Díaz Maya, National Chief of Scouts in Mexico, which agglutinates 48,000 members.

Launched in 2017, the Clean Seas campaign works with governments, businesses and citizens to eliminate the needless use of disposable plastics and protect our oceans and rivers from a toxic tide of pollution that is endangering livelihoods and killing wildlife.

Every year, over 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans threatening the world´s marine environments.

The campaign is currently supported by 60 countries, 20 of them from Latin America and the Caribbean.



About UN Environment

UNEP is the leading global voice on the global environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About the Interamerican Scout Region

The Interamerican Scout Region, which comprises 34 countries of the Americas, is one of the 6 scout regions in which the Scout Movement is organized throughout the planet. The Interamerican Scout Region, created in 1946, is based in Panama City and agglutinates more than 4 million scouts.

About Clean Seas

Launched at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali in 2017, UNEP´s #CleanSeas campaign is urging governments to pass plastic reduction policies; targeting industry to minimize plastic packaging and redesign products; and calling on consumers to change their throwaway habits before irreversible damage is done to our seas. The Member States supporting the campaign in Latin America and the Caribbean are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Lucía, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.

For more information, please contact:

María Amparo Lasso, UNEP Head of Communications for Latin America and the Caribbean,+507 305-3182José Gabriel Criollo, Director of Institutional Development of the World Scout Bureau - Inter-American Support Center, +507 605-87327