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Asean battles marine debris


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Asean battles marine debris

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM 
THE NATION

 

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File photo: Plastic waste is seen submerged in water during an event to clear garbage from Lampung bay in the Sukaraja village in the Bumi Waras subdistrict of Bandar Lampung on February 21, 2019. // AFP PHOTO

                 

Bangkok declaration by ministers today to focus on cooperative efforts and measures in the region to tackle this serious environmental threat.
 

ASEAN MEMBER countries will sign the Bangkok Declaration to jointly combat the pervasive marine plastic debris problem in the region.

 

Ministers of 10 Asean countries will gather for the Special Asean Ministerial Meeting on Marine Debris in Bangkok today to discuss issues related to marine plastic pollution and make a regional resolution to tackle this serious threat to marine ecosystems.

 

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File photo

 

Marine and Coastal Resources Department director-general Jatuporn Buruspat revealed yesterday that the meeting’s highlight will be the official endorsement of the Bangkok Declaration, which will be Asean’s first cooperative framework to tackle marine plastic waste pollution in the region.

 

“The meeting tomorrow [today] will be a historic one, as this is the first time that Asean member countries will formally discuss the issue of marine plastic debris at an official Asean meeting to find solutions together,” Jatuporn said.

 

“This is a significant step towards safeguarding marine ecosystems and the well-being of the people of Southeast Asia, as this region suffers heavily from marine plastic pollution. Five of the world’s top 10 countries releasing the most plastic waste into the sea are from this region.”

 

Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia are listed in that order as the biggest polluters of the sea, according to a 2015 study in Science.

 

As marine plastic pollution is a transboundary problem, Jatuporn emphasised that cooperative measures by Asean countries and contribution from each member state were required to achieve an effective and sustainable solution.

 

He revealed that among measures in the Bangkok Declaration to tackle marine debris would be a framework for each member state to reduce the release of plastic waste into the sea, based on the regional diplomatic non-interference principle.

 

State agencies focused on problem

 

“Representatives from observer countries such as China, Japan and the United States, as well as international organisations and the private sector will also join this |meeting, as we need cooperation from |every stakeholder to deal with this issue,” he added.

 

Pollution Control Department (PCD) director-general Pralong Dumrongthai said that Thai authorities were also actively working on marine plastic debris reduction.

 

“Since 80 per cent of overall marine plastic debris is improperly managed waste from land, retrieving up this litter from the sea is not a sustainable solution,” Pralong said.

 

“Right now, every related agency is cooperating to improve the efficiency of the country’s waste management at every stage – from lowering waste generation, implementing more intensive reuse and recycling, to upgrading the waste disposal system.”

 

He revealed that the PCD was also phasing out the use of single-use plastic in the Kingdom. 

 

The department banned bottle-cap seals last year, while the PCD was planning to end the use of microbeads in cosmetic products within this year and also ban polystyrene food containers, plastic bags and plastic cups that are thinner than 36 microns by the end of 2022.

 

However, Sonthi Kotchawat, a leading environmental health expert, said the authorities needed to do more in order to sustainably reduce plastic waste and tackle marine plastic pollution.

 

“The authorities still rely heavily on promotional campaigns to encourage people to use less plastic, which is ineffective, because most people are already addicted to the convenience of using plastic products,” Sonthi said.

 

“Instead, we should have regulations and policies to wean the society and economy away from plastic reliance and foster a plastic-free lifestyle among the public.”

 

Marine debris – a global overview

 

Ten countries generating the highest amounts |of marine debris on average annually (as of 2010)

 

1     China     3.53 million tonnes

2     Indonesia     1.29 million tonnes

3     Philippines     0.75 million tonnes

4     Vietnam     0.73 million tonnes

5     Sri Lanka     0.64 million tonnes

6     Egypt     0.39 million tonnes

7     Thailand     0.41 million tonnes

8     Malaysia     0.37 million tonnes

9     Nigeria     0.34 million tonnes

10 Bangladesh     0.31 million tonnes

 

National overview

 

Ten Thai provinces generating the largest amount of marine debris in 2018

 

1     Prachuap Khiri Khan     23,600 pieces

2     Samut Prakan     7,900 pieces

3     Songkhla     4,000 pieces

4     Pattani     2,600 pieces

5     Nakhon Si Thammarat     2,600 pieces

6     Bangkok     2,500 pieces

7     Phuket     2,000 pieces

8     Phetchaburi     2,000 pieces

9     Narathiwat     1,800 pieces

10  Chonburi     1,200 pieces

 

Sources: Jamberg et al, 2015, and Marine and Coastal Resources Department

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30365186

 

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-- © Copyright The Nation 2019-03-05
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Interesting.  This may seem simplistic but why can't we go back to paper grocery bags.  The paper could be recycled.

 

Can they put up catch fences on canals to grab all the crap before it goes into the ocean and can we please get garbage containers on the streets so that we have a place to put the garbage besides leaving on the street

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1 hour ago, kingstonkid said:

can we please get garbage containers on the streets so that we have a place to put the garbage besides leaving on the street

that costs money and requires management

 

Don't know if anyone has noticed yet but Pattaya now has no garbage collection since 1st March - wonder what that is all about

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, kingstonkid said:

Interesting.  This may seem simplistic but why can't we go back to paper grocery bags.  The paper could be recycled.

 

Can they put up catch fences on canals to grab all the crap before it goes into the ocean and can we please get garbage containers on the streets so that we have a place to put the garbage besides leaving on the street

Paper bags for groceries/consumables could be the way to go, but rather than trying to convince the public you have to go to the retailers who are the largest purchasers. If you could get the large stores such as 7-11, CJ Stores, Lotus, Big C, Makro etc etc then it might filter down the line to the smaller retailers!

High street shops & street vendors, again try to get them to change their habits by offering an alternative cost effective bag that isn't plastic.

Finally especially here i Thailand ban the sale of plastic in-which food or drinks are sold! 

As for catch fences on canals & street garbage bins all cost money to put in place & cost even more to maintain & service on a regular basis.

Unfortunately though this is a "first" as far as getting them all in one room I feel that it's going to be a lot of talk before anything actually happens.. by which time the tonnage will be mounting !

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9 hours ago, kingstonkid said:

Interesting.  This may seem simplistic but why can't we go back to paper grocery bags.  The paper could be recycled.

 

Can they put up catch fences on canals to grab all the crap before it goes into the ocean and can we please get garbage containers on the streets so that we have a place to put the garbage besides leaving on the street

Logic, logic ??? what's wrong with you? don't you like it here?

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12 hours ago, kingstonkid said:

Interesting.  This may seem simplistic but why can't we go back to paper grocery bags.  The paper could be recycled.

 

Can they put up catch fences on canals to grab all the crap before it goes into the ocean and can we please get garbage containers on the streets so that we have a place to put the garbage besides leaving on the street

To get paper bags, you need to plant lots and lots of trees. The world is deforesting not reforesting.

Even if you planted enough trees today to provide sufficient paper bags, it would take at least 20 years to harvest those trees.

And then more time to process and distribute.

The solution is quite easy, make consumers provide their own bags, or charge to purchase a sustainable "string" or reusable plastic bag.

They can easily put catch mesh on canals. IF they wanted to!

They can easily start a public discussion from PM to monks to schools to tv shows to teach people not to litter and so on IF they wanted to.

 They can easily have public rubbish disposal and clean generators to burn IF they want to.

Not going to happen. It will cost money and there will be little opportunity to skim a big chunk of grease from something like this.

Already many parts of the province I live in has huge polluted cesspools that increases every year.

No one appears to care, it will all flow out to sea come the rainy season is the community and political logic.

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