East Asia Summit to Make Stronger Commitment to Combating Marine Plastic Pollution

Nusa Dua. Indonesia, along with the other members of the East Asia Summit, will declare a stronger commitment to combating marine plastic pollution during the 13th annual meeting of the regional forum in Singapore later this month.

Speaking at a special event on marine plastic pollution on the sidelines of the 2018 Our Ocean Conference in Bali last week, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said the declaration would form part of the EAS Leaders’ Statement and that it would include commitments to reduce marine debris by a minimum of 25 percent.

The leaders of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), along with the leaders of the United States, China, India, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, are scheduled to attend this year’s summit in Singapore on Nov. 17.

“There have been past undertakings on this issue and it is now time for us to expedite the process to implement our commitments and work out global actions and innovations,” Luhut said.

He added that both commitments and effective solutions in the global effort to reduce marine debris must be renewed and updated.

“Science and research play key roles in coming up with innovative solutions, including in shaping our policies, in developing new business models, exploring new technologies, as well as in changing our behavior towards plastic,” Luhut said.

This sentiment was echoed by Laura Tuck, World Bank vice president for sustainable development, who highlighted the importance of collaboration in addressing this “emerging global crisis.”

“I think it’s clear that there is now global momentum to address marine pollution and everyone is contributing to that effort. It is time for us to find workable solutions that make our oceans both healthy and productive, so that future generations will continue to thrive,” Tuck said.

The United Nations Environment Program said plastic pollution causes damage of at least $13 billion to marine ecosystems per year globally.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), an intergovernmental forum promoting free trade, meanwhile estimated the cost of marine plastic pollution to the tourism, fishing and shipping industries in the region at around $1.3 billion annually.

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