Ministries and Coordination Mechanism

Brunei Darussalam has no structured coordinating ministries working on marine plastic litter. However, two authorities deal with waste management to combat marine plastic litter: the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation (Ministry of Development) and the Department of Municipal Boards (Ministry of Home Affairs). The former collects and disposes solid waste for the entire country while the latter does the same in municipal areas such as Bandar Seri Begawan, Tutong, and Kuala Belait–Seria (Government of Brunei Darussalam, 2019).

Government of Brunei Darussalam (2019), 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Concept) in Brunei Darussalam (accessed 29 October 2019).

National Laws and Regulation

Three major laws and regulations tackle marine plastic litter issue in Brunei Darussalam. The Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Order 2005 aims to prevent disposal of waste from ships, including refuse, garbage, effluents, plastics, and dangerous pollutants. Section 5(1) states that ‘… if any disposal or discharge of refuse, garbage, waste matter, trade effluent, plastics or marine pollutant in packaged form occurs from any ship into Brunei Darussalam waters, the master, the owner and the agent of the ship shall each be guilty of an offence …’. Section 16(1) states that any direct or indirect discharge from ships of refuse, garbage, waste, plastics, effluents, and dangerous pollutants into any part of the sea or waters in Brunei Darussalam shall be charged for recovery costs.

The Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Garbage) Regulations 2008, especially Section 4(1), specifies plastic discharge prohibition, covering all plastics, including but not limited to synthetic ropes, synthetic fishing nets, and plastic garbage bags. The Law of Brunei Chapter 30 Minor Offences Act 1929 prohibits littering in public. Environmental Protection and Management Order 2016, specifically Section 41(1), authorises the minister to make regulations that are necessary or expedient to carry out the order’s provisions. Section 41(2)(f) states that ‘… the Minister may also impose requirements with respect to control of land pollution, including industrial waste, domestic waste and littering’. Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit) Order 2013 prohibits the transboundary movement of plastic waste unless the person importing or exporting is authorised to do so. Following recent amendments to the country’s customs import and excise duties, which took effect on 01 April 2017, the volume of plastic and plastic products for import is to be reduced by imposing a 3% excise duty on them (Ministry of Finance, 2017).

The Ministry of Development has launched campaigns on plastic waste reduction, such as the promotion of reusable bags during the commemoration of World Environment Day in 2008 (Ministry of Development, 2019a). The ‘No Plastic Bag Weekend’ was launched on 26 March 2011 to phase out plastic bag use every Saturday and Sunday, and then every Friday (since 16 February 2012), Thursday (since 19 April 2018), Wednesday (since 11 July 2018), Tuesday (since 02 October 2018), and Monday (since 31 December 2018). In 2013, the Ministry of Development launched a campaign to reduce styrofoam packaging by advising schools to reduce the use of styrofoam containers in their canteens (Ministry of Development, 2019b). Three schools (Sekolah Menengah Sayyidina Hasan, Maktab Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah, and Pusat Tingkatan Enam Katok) have successfully followed this campaign.


Government of Brunei Darussalam (1929), Law of Brunei Chapter 30 Minor Offences Act 1929. (accessed 04 November 2019).

Government of Brunei Darussalam (2005), Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Order, 2005 (accessed 29 October 2019).

Government of Brunei Darussalam Government (2008), Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Garbage) Regulations, 2008 (accessed 29 October 2019).

Government of Brunei Darussalam Government (2013), Hazardous Waste (Control of Export, Import and Transit) Order 2013 (accessed 29 October 2019).

Government of Brunei Darussalam Government (2016), Environmental Protection and Management Order, 2016 (accessed 29 October 2019).

Ministry of Development (2019a), No Plastic Bag Weekend (accessed 29 October 2019).

Ministry of Development (2019b), Reducing the Use of Styrofoam Containers. (accessed 29 October 2019).

Ministry of Finance (2017), Amendments to the Customs Import and Excise Duties Effective 1st April 2017 (04 November 2019).

Local Regulations

Local governments have limited regulations to combat marine plastic litter and mainly implement, through their municipal boards, national laws and regulations such as the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea Order 2005, the Prevention of Pollution of the Sea (Garbage) Regulations 2008, and the Environmental Protection and Management Order 2016. Municipal boards comply with the Law of Brunei Chapter 57 Municipal Board 1921, which requires them to take all lawful measures for several purposes, including the removal and disposal of refuse within their areas of control (Section 4). The municipal board has the power to determine levies, especially for sewage treatment and disposal. Section 12 states: ‘An annual rate for the general purposes of this Act, including also the purposes of public lighting, public water supply public sewers, sewage treatment and disposal, and protection from fire, may be imposed upon all lands and upon all houses and buildings within any Municipal Board area not exceeding 15 per centum of their annual value, such rate shall be fixed from time to time by His Majesty in Council after consultation with the Municipal Board and shall be payable by half-yearly instalments in advance without demand by the owners of such lands, houses or buildings in the months of January and July in each year’.


Government of Brunei Darussalam (1921), Law of Brunei Chapter 57 Municipal Board 1921. (accessed 30 October 2019).

Action Plans and Roadmaps

The government has set strategies to reduce the generation of solid waste nationwide through two action plans: waste minimisation through 3-R (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) and targeting of a 15% waste recycling rate by 2020 (Energy and Industry Department, 2017) and 30% by 2035 (Akenji et al., 2019).

The 3-R is taking place, particularly amongst the younger generation. The Recycle 123 Handbook, using captivating graphics and a ‘did-you-know’ style of delivering content, targets the youth. In 2009, the Brunei Environment Youth Envoy (EYE) was established under the guidance of the Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation. It aims to (1) nurture and build a network to foster environmental awareness and action amongst youth at the national and regional levels, (2) collaborate and cooperate on environmental sustainability projects, and (3) enhance environmental knowledge and build capacity to share and impart it to the youth (Brunei Darussalam, 2013). The Brunei EYE has successfully carried out 3-R awareness programmes in five primary schools in Kampong Ayer, a water village on the Brunei River, and two inland primary schools (Brunei Darussalam, 2013). The Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation supports several secondary schools through its eco-clubs, which are run by students and guided by teachers to encourage them to be involved in environmental projects and activities such as beach clean-up.

The recycling rate target of 15% by 2027 and 30% by 2035 shall be achieved through waste-reduction efforts, including campaigns to transition to reusable bags, the ‘No Plastic Bag Every Day’ initiative, and reduction of styrofoam containers use; installation of recycling bins for paper, plastics, and metals in waste collection centres in the Brunei Muara District and in other schools and universities; and composting initiatives for green wastes (Brunei Darussalam, 2013).

A related action plan was formulated based on the Tenth National Development Plan (2012–2017): the second 5-year plan under the Brunei Darussalam Long-Term Development Plan (2007–2035). The plan enhances the provision of a healthy and clean environment, including efficient use of national resources, provision and enforcement of legislation, effective solid waste management, and harmonisation of national commitments and international best practices (Department of Economic Planning and Development, 2012).


Akenji, L., M. Bengtsson, M. Kato, M. Hengesbaugh, Y. Hotta, C. Aoki-Suzuki, P.J.D. Gamaralalage, and C. Liu (2019), Circular Economy and Plastics: A Gap-Analysis in ASEAN Member States. Brussels: European Commission Directorate General for Environment and Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development, Jakarta: Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Brunei Darussalam (2013), Fourth Regional 3R Forum in Asia ‘3Rs in the Context of Rio+20 Outcomes – The Future We Want’: Country Analysis Paper (Draft) Brunei Darussalam (accessed 30 October 2019).

Department of Economic Planning and Development (2012), Tenth National Development Plan (2012 – 2017): Brunei Darussalam. Brunei Darussalam: Department of Economic Planning and Development. (accessed 30 October 2019).

Energy and Industry Department (2017), Brunei Darussalam’s Second National Communication: Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.  Bandar Seri Begawan: Energy and Industry Department. (accessed 30 October 2019).