ASEAN faces up to marine debris

General Surasak Karnjanarat, Minister of The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment of Thailand presided over the ASEAN Conference.

PHUKET, 28 November, 2017: ASEAN countries met in Phuket last week to tackle marine debris as reports identify four ASEAN nations among the top sea polluter, worldwide.

Phuket hosted the ASEAN Conference on Reducing Marine Debris  at the JW Marriot Phuket Resort & Spa.

Over 300  marine experts from 10 ASEAN member countries and representatives from ASEAN countries’ environmental ministries, including a representative from China, academic experts in marine studies and international conservation groups participated in the event.

They listened to presentations that claimed three-quarters of all marine debris is made up of various forms of plastic and a recent study estimates that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tons of plastics are dumped into the ocean annually. Inadequate waste management on land caused 80% of marine debris.

Marine debris is transported by ocean currents across borders making it a difficult issue to tackle without regional and global cooperation.

Four out of the top six most marine polluting countries, worldwide, are in ASEAN (Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand).

The conference concluded that  urgent measures and cooperation was needed to reduce marine debris and litter in line with ASEAN’s Vision 2025 objectives for sustainable development.