23 November 2021 / 10:00-11:30 (GMT+8)
Plastic is a material that is versatile, resistant, lightweight, and inexpensive to produce, which makes it ubiquitous in our everyday lives. However, the amount of plastic waste released in our environment and its negative effects on our marine ecosystem have attracted increasing scientific concern in recent years. East and Southeast Asian regions are recognised as the biggest contributors to marine plastic pollution due to rapid economic growth and the lack of solid waste management infrastructure. Indeed, ASEAN+3 region is estimated to account for 62.6% of the world leakage of plastics to the ocean, including Malaysia which ranks third in the world, according to a study by Dutch scientist Lourens Meijer et. al. (2021).
Alarmed by this regional situation, the ASEAN Member States in 2019 welcomed the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris and adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region. In May 2021, ASEAN as a group officially launched the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris in the ASEAN Member States (2021-2025), which recognises the urgent need to combat marine litter, including by promoting platforms for knowledge sharing, innovative solutions, and best practices to address this issue.
Although much is still left to be studied, particularly the long-term impacts of plastics on our marine ecosystem, and its potential harm to human health through the food chain, there is a wide international consensus to take urgent preventative actions before further damage is done. Echoing these concerns, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) has established the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) in 2019 to provide the ASEAN+3 Member States with support in addressing emerging challenges associated with marine plastic debris.
In fact, the private sector in ASEAN+3 countries have been contributing significantly to the reduction of plastic waste and by consequence marine plastic debris in the region. Their efforts can range from both production and consumption (so-called “upstream”) level to recycling and waste management (so-called “downstream”) level. At the occasion of this forum, ERIA’s RKC- MPD will focus on the role played by the private sectors in Malaysia by shedding light on innovative technologies and approaches developed to address this pressing issue. Innovation, in this context will encompass a wide array of practices that distance themselves from the traditional linear (take-make-use-dispose) way of thinking and proposes more responsible and sustainable business models.
One of the important missions of RKC-MPD is to promote private companies whose business activities help combat marine plastic litter, in the hope to promote this positive shift. RKC-MPD has established an online platform titled ‘Private sector initiatives to reduce plastic waste and marine plastic debris’ (https://rkcmpd-eria.org/story). This online interface called the Private Sector Platform (PSP) hosts information submitted by private companies operating in all ASEAN+3 countries to showcase their products, services, or technologies contributing to the reduction of plastic waste and marine plastic debris. The platform collects and disseminates private companies’ business activities that are conducive to marine plastics mitigation. It also aims to encourage Business-to-Business, Business-to-Government and/or Business-to-Consumer opportunities in the ASEAN+3 region.
The forum will be an occasion for the Ministry of Environment and Water of Malaysia, a Malaysian business alliance, and Malaysian private companies to stocktake the progress made, and discuss the many ways private companies can contribute in combatting plastic waste and marine plastic debris. RKC-MPD will reintroduce the Private Sector Platform (PSP) to the public, particularly to the private companies, to raise more awareness of the platform and attract a larger number of private companies to join the fight against marine plastics.
OBJECTIVES OF THE WEBINAR
- Raise awareness of the marine plastic debris problem in the ASEAN+3 context but more particularly in Malaysia
- Share innovative business practices carried out by the leading Malaysian private companies and relevant business associations, along with the associated challenges and constraints.
- Recognise private companies as important partners to find collective and integrated solutions to marine plastic pollution.
- Invite Malaysian private companies to take part in the initiative and submit their information to the platform.
Hosted by ERIA and RKC-MPD, the Webinar will last 1.5 hours via Zoom platform with a moderated panel discussion.