by Hendro Putra Johannes • 6 May 2022

Bangkok, 6 May 2022: Regional Resource Centre for Asia and the Pacific (RRC.AP) of Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) organized a consultation meeting to kick off a project funded by the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).

In partnership with Thailand, the Philippines, and Lao PDR, the project will harness the experiences, perspectives, roles, and expertise from selected ASEAN cities to develop technical guidelines for plastics and resin pellets leakage prevention from factories and informal recycling sector in the ASEAN, with the objective to disseminate lessons learned to build capacity in the region.

The project aims to prevent micro- and macroplastics losses into marine environment through promotion of best practices at resin producing factories and recycling facilities or junk shops in the region. The guidelines will be based on feasible best management practices that are socially permissible, technologically available, and economically practicable.

The meeting presented and discussed the project scope and detail workplan with project collaborators and other key stakeholders, to attain involvement and set the course for a smooth project collaboration and successful project implementation in city level.

Additionally, it is expected for the project final recommendations to serve as technical input to the international legally binding agreement to control plastic pollution by 2024 adopted at UNEA-5.2 in Nairobi.

Some important feedback from the participants was as follows:

Clarify the definitions of stakeholders

‘I would strongly recommend for us to properly categorise the players along the value chain, because the lack of a clear definition can create confusion and inconsistency in our understanding,’ Mr Crispian Lao, Founding President of Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Material Sustainability, suggested.

‘In Thailand, informal sector is not much mentioned in relevant policies, although they play a critical role in collecting waste,’ Ms Hatthaya Yamchuti, School of Environment, Resource and Development of AIT, mentioned.

Linking with Existing Framework

‘To stay in line with frameworks and action plans on marine debris, as most of the countries already have one or are in the process of developing one, the guidelines developed through this project have a high potential to be embedded in such framework,’ Mr Guilberto Borongan, Head of Waste and Resource Management Cluster of RRC.AP, pointed out.

‘It is indeed important to harmonise the project with existing national action plans for it to be meaningful. The first step would be to identify in which component of the national action plan the project input can contribute,’ Mr Crispian Lao agreed.

‘Is it also possible to create linkages between local and national frameworks with any global framework?’ Dr Marlon de Luna Era, Associate Professor of De La Salle University, wondered.

Good Communication Plan

‘Establishing a good communication plan will be critical for the project, so that the end-users of the guidelines, including government entities, can appreciate and make good use of our work,’ Dr Michael Promentilla suggested.