The international cooperation to solve the problem of plastic waste in the South China Sea

Combating plastic pollution in the South China Sea

The fourth ocean dialogue with the theme "Combating plastic pollution in the South China Sea" took place on the morning of 16 January in Hanoi. Many ideas from speakers from countries on regional cooperation to address the situation of plastic waste discharge into the South China Sea have been discussed.

The conference was organized by the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), the Australian Embassy in Vietnam and the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation (KAS) in Vietnam.

According to Prof. Carmen Ablan Lagman from De La Salle University (Philippines), plastic waste has many forms and exists for at least 100 years. In addition, when decaying plasticizers, flame retardants which are in plastic waste, it can dissolve into air, water, appear in the human body and create extremely toxic hormones for children and people. He said that about 94% of the treated water in the world still has plastic fibers.

In the ASEAN region, the rate of plastic waste pollution in this region is increasing and alarming people's health when the proportion of seafood consumption in this area is three times higher than that of other western countries. Countries in the region need to take specific actions to handle the use of disposable plastic products. The industries, corporations and enterprises that produce many micro-polluting plastics also need to cooperate with the government to solve the problem of plastic waste, stated by prof. Carmen Ablan Lagman. In the Philippines, Boracay beach has been closed and there is a policy to ban the use of plastic bags when going to supermarkets in some localities. If countries can share waste treatment technologies, especially recycling technology, the problem of ocean plastic waste will be gradually improved.

Emphasizing the importance of the global problem of ocean plastic waste, Dr. Julyus Melvin Mobilik (Ministry of Malaysian Sea) said that no country can unilaterally handle this issue but need to be coordinated to implement common measures. Short-term measures are to have alternatives to disposable plastic products such as plastic bags, cups, straws, etc. In addition, it is necessary to find a plan to cut down the sources of micro-plastic and plastic waste, encourage enterprises to develop modern plastic recycling and recycling technologies that can shorten the life of plastic waste.

Dr. Nguyen Le Tuan, Director of Sea and Island Research Institute (General Department of Sea and Islands, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment) said: Currently, Vietnam has two laws related to plastic waste, including Law on Environmental Protection; Law on Natural Resources and Environment of Sea and Islands. Along with that is the promulgation of the Vietnam Sustainable Marine Economic Development Strategy to 2030, vision to 2045. In addition, it is necessary to promote the South China Sea regional cooperation and information sharing on plastic waste pollution in the region, plan to act with appropriate back-up resources to solve the problem of ocean plastic waste for each country and promote recycling products and future recycling technology.

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