Delegation of the European Union to ASEAN

EU and ASEAN foster innovative approaches in managing Plastic Waste in the Marine Environment

Virtual, 24/06/2021 - 23:00, UNIQUE ID: 210625_29
Press releases

The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), representatives from the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), private sector members from business and industry, and other stakeholders gathered today (24/6) for the fifth installment of the six-part EU-ASEAN webinar series on “Plastic Value Chain Management”.

EU and ASEAN Foster Innovative Approaches in Managing Plastic Waste in the Marine Environment

The European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), representatives from the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), private sector members from business and industry, and other stakeholders gathered today (24/6) for the fifth installment of the six-part EU-ASEAN webinar series on “Plastic Value Chain Management”. This webinar series is organised in close coordination with the Science & Technology Division of the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC), the Philippines Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and with the support of the Enhanced EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI).

Plastic litter in the marine environment is becoming an increasingly global concern that requires cooperation and sharing of the latest research, innovation and information by all sectors of society. The objective of the webinar is to do so in part by showcasing challenges of and innovative approaches to managing plastic wastes in the marine environment with speakers and experts from the EU and ASEAN.

This included three relevant EU-Horizon 2020 funded projects that addresses the problem of marine plastic waste by tracking the quantities of plastic in the ocean (TOPIOS), producing high-quality products made from marine plastic litter (Upcycling the Oceans), and sustainably using jellyfish slime as a gelatinous solution to plastic pollution (GOJELLY).

In addition, the project “Rethinking Plastics - Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter”, involving many ASEAN Member States (Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam), China and Japan, was highlighted. The project supports the transition towards a circular economy in East and Southeast Asia and is commissioned by the EU and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Further, another ongoing project, South East Asia MArine Plastics (SEAMap) was showcased. The project is funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council, a joint collaborative project of Bangor University, Northern Wales, UK and the University of San Carlos, Cebu, Philippines, in partnership with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The aim of the project is to look at solutions and integrated strategies for the reduction, control and mitigation of marine plastic pollution in the Philippines.

In addition to these highlighted projects, examples of case studies were presented, which include Lao PDR’s challenges of dealing with plastics in the environment, as well as examples of innovation and technologies in managing marine plastic wastes from Thailand and Singapore. Of special interest was a featured talk by Dr Daniel Gonzalez Fernandez of Universidad de Cadiz of Spain on the first comprehensive global study of macro litter in the ocean, which found that 80% is made of plastic.

This fifth webinar of the series brings about more pragmatic and green solutions to marine plastic wastes, from all affected stakeholders, with a common theme among the presentations of the importance of tracing the wastes’ origins.

The series of events aims to create platforms for dialogues on green technology markets particularly among innovators, and to promote EU-ASEAN Technology Cooperation and Transfer. The focus on plastic value chain management facilitates discussions about state-of-the-art and future perspectives of plastic waste management and its key elements, including new technologies on and solutions to plastic wastes consolidation, segregation, and recycling to close the loop towards circular economy.

Future webinars in this series will address other relevant topics related to plastic value chain management and will continue to serve as a platform to bridge the gap between government agencies, business and industry, academy, and society at large, with the aim to forge collaboration opportunities.

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The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established on 8 August 1967. The ASEAN Member States are Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. On 31 December 2015, the ASEAN Community was formally established. The ASEAN Secretariat is based in Jakarta.

The European Union (EU) is the economic and political union of 27 Member States. Together, the European Union has built a zone of stability, democracy and sustainable development while maintaining cultural diversity, tolerance and individual freedom. In 2012, the European Union was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the goals of peace, reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe. The European Union is the world's largest trading bloc, and the world's largest source and destination of foreign direct investment. Collectively, the European Union and its member countries are the largest donors of Official Development Assistance (ODA), providing more than half of ODA globally.

The 27 Member States of the European Union (in alphabetical order) are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

The Enhanced Regional EU-ASEAN Dialogue Instrument (E-READI) is a development cooperation programme that facilitates cooperation and dialogue between the EU and ASEAN in policy areas of joint interest. Drawing on the EU’s experience of regional integration, E-READI further strengthens both the ASEAN regional integration process as well as the overall ASEAN-EU strategic partnership.

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