Pierre-Yves Cousteau Headlines the Launch of ISWA’s Initiative for Mayors and Municipalities

Last week, on the occasion of the World Mayors Forum and the Clean Enviro Summit, from 8-12 July in Singapore, ISWA held the first meeting of its Initiative for Mayors and Municipalities (IMM).

16 Jul 2018 -

On Tuesday 10th July, in front of a 400-strong audience of leaders and decision makers from around the world, ISWA President, Antonis Mavropoulos led a panel featuring world famous diver and marine conservationist Pierre-Yves Cousteau and ISWA’s Ambassador for Mayors and Municipalities, Philip Heylen, alongside Mayors from Rotterdam and Antwerp. The event also saw the first IMM membership cards issued to the Mayor of Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb, and his counterpart in Antwerp, Bart De Wever.


Urbanisation and Waste Management


The Initiative has been established to come up with tailor-made solutions for sustainable waste management in an age of rapid population growth and urbanisation. The waste challenges of today’s cities make the IMM an essential platform, and ISWA an essential network, to help raise waste management up the agenda of those who can make a difference. During his presentation, Antonis Mavropoulos warned that “we are currently undergoing the biggest wave of urbanisation in human history, where pollution is becoming the new normal. In fact, pollution was responsible for 16% of all deaths globally in 2015. Waste and resource management, and the adaption of new technologies will be essential in this age of transition to mitigate the effects on human health.”


One of the key challenges, added Philip Heylen is “the problem of plastic waste in the seas and illegal dumpsites. The world’s 50 largest dumpsites alone account for thousands of deaths per year”. Mr Heylen, along with the rest of the panel, emphasised the significance of the role of decision makers and the need to raise the issue of waste management to the highest level.




Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of the famous naval scientist Jacques, gave the final presentation of the afternoon with some stark warnings of the damage we are inflicting on our oceans and marine life with our current lifestyles and apathy towards where our waste ends up, particularly plastics. “The plastic problem is tentacular and calls upon every actor of society to help solve,” he said as he called upon decision makers to get tough on plastics.


More about the IMM


ISWA's mission is to promote and develop sustainable waste management worldwide, to create a cleaner-healthier planet. To achieve this, ISWA's know-how and best practices need to be accessible to decision makers and those who influence policy on regional and national levels. Over the coming years, ISWA will organise events and workshops specifically aimed at mayors and municipalities and will tailor it's knowledge and projects into accessible, executive summaries for decision makers. The overall objective is to raise the profile of ISWA and sustainable waste management to the highest level by engaging mayors and municipal leaders.


Philip Heylen will be hosting a free webinar with our partners at BeWasteWise, introducing the initiate on the 25 July 2018. See here more details and registration.

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