Phuket to host 1st Asean sea waste summit
Marine experts from Asean countries will meet in the southern resort island of Phuket next week for the first round of regional cooperation on the subject of reducing sea waste.
“The challenge is finding a way to limit waste on the mainland to the same degree as we reduce garbage found at sea,” said Wijarn Simachaya, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
“If we can come up with strong measures for waste reduction, it will help reduce the problem of marine debris.”
Participants in the Nov 22-23 event will include representatives from Asean countries’ environmental ministries, an official representative from China, academic experts in marine studies and international conservation groups.
They are expected to come up with a regional framework to reduce sea waste that will be presented at the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya next month.
The world’s top four polluters in terms of plastic waste entering the ocean are all in Asia.
China, which releases 2.22 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, is the leading scourge, followed by Indonesia at No.2 with 1.29 million tonnes, then the Philippines and Vietnam, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
Thailand ranks sixth in the top 10 and Malaysia is eighth.
The Environment Ministry said the nation’s 24 coastal provinces produce about 10 million tonnes of waste every year, up to 10% of which is expected to be released into the sea.
The government is devising new measures to resolve this issue including its recent smoking ban on popular beaches, said Jatuporn Buruspat, chief of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
Meanwhile, a survey to determine the main sources of the waste in the 24 provinces is due to be completed by early next year, officials said.