Southeast Asian nations, among worst ocean polluters, aim to curb plastic debris

Southeast Asian nations, among worst ocean polluters, aim to curb plastic debris

Thai zero-waste advocate Thanaboon Somboon never leaves his home without what he calls a full “weaponry” of reusable shopping bags, coffee tumblers and stainless steel straws for his daily battle against single-use plastic, reports Trend citing to Reuters

“I saw news of trash overflowing the world...sea animals dying from eating plastic...I felt I must do something,” says the 48-year-old entrepreneur, who leads an online community of more than 20,000 people seeking to practise a waste-free lifestyle.

But individual efforts alone can’t fully stop the 8 million tonnes of plastic that make their way to the ocean each year, and with four of the five worst ocean polluters in Southeast Asia, the region’s governments must take action, he says.

“Policymaking to address the issue must be treated with urgency as well,” said Thanaboon.

A summit for leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) being hosted by Thailand this weekend is expected to adopt the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region.

Thailand, the current chair of the group, has lauded the declaration as a “big step” for the region, whose coasts have seen whales and sea turtles wash up dead in recent years with large amounts of plastic rubbish in their stomachs.

ASEAN members Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand are among the five countries throwing the most plastic waste into oceans, according to a 2015 report co-authored by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy.

China is the worst offender.

“Every ASEAN country agrees that marine debris is a common problem that we must address urgently,” Wijarn Simachaya, permanent secretary of Thailand’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told Reuters.

Unlike the European Union’s central bans and targets, Wijarn said the ASEAN declaration will outline broad ideas but it will be up to each country what it would take home to implement.

The declaration will come ahead of next week’s G20 summit in Japan, which assembles 20 major economies and will also aim to tackle marine plastic pollution.

WORDS ON PAPER?

Environmentalists welcomed ASEAN’s move to adopt the joint declaration, but there are worries that implementation will be a challenge, because the group has a code of non-interference that would leave necessary policymaking in the hands of individual member countries.

“This declaration will be a new milestone, but it will be just words on paper if there is no change in policies,” Tara Buakamsri, director of Greenpeace Thailand, told Reuters.

He said ASEAN countries should urgently all ban single-use plastic first for the declaration to be effective. “There is no other way,” Tara said.

Globally, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used each year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme. Of 300 million tonnes of plastic waste the world produces annually, 8 million end up in the oceans, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, it says.

According to Ocean Conservancy, 60 percent of the debris comes from China and the four ASEAN nations.

“It’s a good step as this is the first time ASEAN formally acknowledges the issue of marine debris,” said marine biologist Thon Thamrongnawasawat.

Each year, Thailand generates about 2 million tonnes of plastic waste, only about 25% of which gets recycled. The rest goes to incineration or landfill, where about 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes leaks into the ocean.

Environmentalists commend initiatives by some major retailers to cut back on plastic bags, but say most businesses will not take action unless there is a stricter push from policy initiatives.

CP All, which operates over 10,000 7-Eleven convenience stores across the country, said it has saved 464 million bags from circulation since December, donating more than 92 million baht saved from the process to public hospitals around the country.

Thailand’s largest retail conglomerate Central Group said last month it aimed to reduce plastic bags by 150 million this year by giving customers rewards incentives.

Governments should “act more drastically” by introducing immediate bans on single-use plastic so that more businesses follow suit, said Nattapong Nithi-Uthai, who leads volunteer network Trash Hero that cleans up the Gulf of Thailand in southern Pattani province.

He also said ASEAN should aim to significantly improve its waste management schemes, as well as hold producers of consumer goods accountable.

“There should be designated places for every single item to go. If things are piled up somewhere, they can leak into the ocean,” he said.

“Producers should also be made responsible for taking back the single-use plastic they produce ... This might make them think twice about producing single-use packaging.”

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Bank of Georgia to begin offering preferential agro-credit
Bank of Georgia to begin offering preferential agro-credit
Azerbaijan’s oil exports to Romania for 10M2021revealed
Azerbaijan’s oil exports to Romania for 10M2021revealed
Iranian currency rates for Dec. 7
Iranian currency rates for Dec. 7
Loading Bars
Latest
Iran pins big hopes on gas swap contract, aims for European exports in near future, says ambassador (Exclusive)
Turkmen agriculture ministry opens tender for purchase of veterinary vaccines
Iran eyes increase in flights via Rasht International Airport
Kazakh oilfield construction company opens tender to buy pipes
Kazakhstan eyes diversifying trade flows with ECO countries
Azerbaijan’s Baku Int’l Sea Trade Port expects increase in flow of goods
Georgia’s spice exports to Central Asia down
Uzbekistan reveals volume of exports and imports for 10M2021
Volume of foreign trade turnover increases in Uzbekistan
Kazakhstan sees multifold decrease in trade with South Korea
Eurostat discloses Azerbaijan’s petroleum exports to Italy
Bank of Georgia to begin offering preferential agro-credit
Georgia’s export of spices remains steady - Geostat
Azerbaijan’s oil exports to Romania for 10M2021revealed
Baku port reveals cargo shipment capability of Ro-Ro terminal
Azerbaijan shares forecast on total cargo shipment via Baku int'l trade port for 2021 (PHOTO)
Kazakh Ulba Metallurgical Plant opens tender for cargo transportation services
Azerbaijan may potentially develop transit communications with int’l transport corridors - Russian analyst
Iran continues work on Chabahar – Zahedan railway project
Eurostat reveals Spain’s petroleum oils import from Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan talks impact of border restrictions due to COVID-19 on tourism
Germany’s petroleum oil imports from Azerbaijan disclosed
Iran Metafo exhibition showcasing country's steel, mining industries
Azerbaijan discloses oil exports to Indonesia for 10M2021
NATO’s Mobile Training Team conducts courses - Azerbaijani MoD (PHOTO)
Iran’s SPGC launches final turbo compressor in 12th refinery at South Pars gas field
UAE announces move to Saturday-Sunday weekend
Bodies of 13 miners discovered at site of Kuzbass mine tragedy
Kazakhstan talks importance of building missing section of North-South transport corridor
Azerbaijan discloses oil exports to Thailand over 10M2021
Azerbaijan’s 10M2021 oil exports to Czech Republic revealed
Azerbaijan reveals oil exports to China in 10M2021
EAEU countries to reduce carbon emissions from rail transport
Omani, Saudi firms sign $30 bln in MoUs amid Saudi crown prince's visit
Iran's air fleet remains crippled as half of planes are 'irreparable'
Each visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to country's districts aimed at their dev’t, increasing welfare of citizens
Armenia to answer for crimes against Azerbaijan - hearings to be held in Hague today
Konul Nurullayeva's article on restoration of Karabakh published in 13 Arabic-language media organs (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan shows footage liberated Keshtazli village in Aghdam (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani oil prices increase
Georgia shares data on main economic activities of business sector
Azerbaijan eyes increasing fruit export
Renovation of thousands of old houses going on in Iran
Azerbaijan’s non-oil exports increase over 11M2021
President Ilham Aliyev receives delegation led by governor of Russia's Astrakhan region (PHOTO)
Iranian currency rates for Dec. 7
Qantas expects to reach 115% of pre-COVID domestic capacity levels by April
Uzbek and Kazakh companies launch joint venture for assembly of Chevrolet cars
Georgia releases COVID-19 data for December 7
Azerbaijan sees increase in mortgage lending in 11M2021
Azerbaijan’s AzerGold to engage consulting services through tender
Turkey discloses cargo traffic via local Ambarli port for 10M2021
Belgium pushing to develop economic relations with Iran
Reopening of industrial companies in Iran triggers return of workers
Russia greenlights tomato, apple supplies from more Azerbaijani enterprises
Uzbekneftegaz obtains industrial gas flow from South Kemachi field
Azerbaijani currency rates for December 7
Putin, Biden will particularly discuss operation of diplomatic missions — Kremlin
VISA supports Azerbaijan in digital banks dev’t
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 6
Azerbaijan discloses plan for strategic for dev’t of agrarian sector on liberated lands
Oil extends gains on easing Omicron fears, Iran delay
Azerbaijani MoD expresses condolences to Pakistan regarding military crash victims
India's COVID-19 tally rises to 34,648,383
Talks between Putin and Biden scheduled for 18:00 Moscow Time - White House
Kazakhstan’s AIFC aims to promote Green Investment Principle among financial institutions in Central Asia
Israel reports outbreak of bird flu at southern farm
Death toll from Java volcanic eruption rises to 22
IOC respects US’ decision to boycott upcoming Beijing Olympics
Mixing Pfizer, AstraZ COVID-19 shots with Moderna gives better immune response -UK study
France extends mask mandate in schools, orders nightclubs to close
UN chief names US diplomat Stephanie Williams to run Libya mediation
Iran ready for resultative talks on nuclear deal - top diplomat
Israel reports 10 new cases of Omicron variant
New York mayor plans vaccination mandate for private-sector employers
Russia, India to expand energy cooperation, says statement
IRICA reveals data on Iran’s trade turnover with ECO member states
Raisi: Iran welcomes development of ties with UAE
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan identify priority issues for cooperation
Saakashvili: reconciliation is the best option for everyone
Azerbaijan sends 100,000 vaccines to Burkina Faso
US announces diplomatic boycott of 2022 Beijing Olympics
Azerbaijani FM, US Assistant Secretary of State discuss latest situation in region
Armenia seen that, whole world seen that, no-one been able to stop us - President Ilham Aliyev
Israel lifts tariffs on dairy imports to cut prices
Young grew up who did not see Karabakh, they liberated Karabakh at cost of their lives – President Ilham Aliyev (VIDEO)
Azerbaijani Minister of Youth and Sports talks about appointment of new deputy minister
I tell them to give us date of when Zangazur corridor will be opened - President Ilham Aliyev to Armenia (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan discloses volume of oil exported to Turkey in 10M2021
Azerbaijani deputy defense minister leaves for Moscow
Forecast of Azerbaijani State Oil Fund’s total management costs for 2022 revealed
Turkmenistan approves anti-crisis program for 2022
Volume of cargo shipment via Turkish ports from Morocco for 10M2021 revealed
Ministry shares data on volume of cargo shipment via Turkish ports from Belgium for 10M2021
Volume of cargo shipment via Turkish ports from China for 10M2021 unveiled
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipment via its ports from Germany for 10M2021
Cost of goods transported via sea up in Azerbaijan
President Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva visit monument to national leader Heydar Aliyev in Guba (PHOTO/VIDEO)
SOFAZ asset management revenue forecast for 2022 unveiled
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on December 7
All news