ASEAN, Japanese youths make 13 recommendations for ocean plastic pollution

Twenty-two young intellectuals representing ten ASEAN member states and Japan, on March 16, adopted a joint declaration in which they expressed their concern over marine plastic waste and gave 13 recommendations.

In the “Future Leaders’ Declaration on ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for International Marine Plastic Waste”, they emphasised that “on the basis of the United  Nations  Convention  on the Law  of  the  Sea (UNCLOS),which defines ‘pollution of the marine environment’ (Part I, Art.1,para.  1(4)), we  are  concerned about the continuing plastic pollution(including macro-plastic and micro-plastic) of the marine environment and its harmful effects on marine life and human health, and recognise the threat of plastic pollution to the marine environment for future generations.”

They gave recommendations in the 13 areas for the pertinent stakeholders,  namely from  the private  sector, the government sector and the academic sector, as well as the general public, taking into account the fact that the plastic waste problem requires concerted efforts from all the people on the planet.

The 13 recommendations listed in the joint statement involve a series of matters including promoting research and development activities for material innovations and production of biodegradable plastics; strengthening research and academic collaboration and knowledge transfer on marine plastic waste between ASEAN and Japan; and establishing cooperative partnerships between local communities and other stakeholders on plastic waste reduction.

Speaking at the launch ceremony, ASEAN Secretary General Lim Jock Hoi called for increasing ASEAN-Japan cooperation in tackling the pollution to protect the ocean for future generations.

Doctor of Law Nguyen Thi Thanh Tra, one of the two Vietnamese representatives signing the Declaration, shared her most favourite solutions in the document, in an interview with the Vietnam News Agency (VNA). They are those on technological development and transfer, education and public awareness raising, and urban development incorporating technology and clean energies, she said.

Building the “Future Leaders’ Declaration on ASEAN-Japan Cooperation for International Marine Plastic Waste” was a project sponsored by the ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) to promote cooperation between the two sides in addressing marine plastic waste.

Twenty-two undergraduate and graduate students representing Japan (Okayama, Shizuoka, Tokyo, Hiroshima, Mie, and Yamaguchi prefectures) and ten ASEAN member countries were selected after a rigorous screening process from approximately 60 applicants who are currently studying in Japan.

Since last November, the 22 students worked together online to draft the joint declaration through a series of three preparatory sessions and lectures with guidance from many experts in the field.

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