Pasadena-based engineering and consulting firm Tetra Tech Inc. was awarded a $48 million, five-year contract by the U.S. Agency for International Development to reduce and prevent pollution in the world’s oceans.

Tetra Tech said in its Sept. 17 announcement that the contract is part of the agency’s Clean Cities Blue Ocean program, which targets sources of origin for the plastic debris polluting the world’s oceans. Those sources are frequently in cities, especially rapidly urbanizing coastal areas.

“This contract represents a paradigm shift in addressing the problem of marine debris at its source rather than once the waste reaches the ocean,” Tetra Tech Chief Executive Dan Batrack said in a statement.

Tetra Tech will help citizens and government agencies improve waste management through reuse and recycling.

The company will also look to strengthen local and regional recycling markets. The lack of markets for recycled plastic has meant those products often end up in landfills.

In addition, Tetra Tech will help change consumer plastic recycling behaviors, collect waste data and promote market-based solutions for the health of oceans and coastal cities.

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