On 9 November 2021, Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) held a webinar on replicable models on marine plastic pollution monitoring. Taking place from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. (GMT+7) via Zoom, the webinar was open to all interested parties.

“This event aims to highlight all lessons learned from the ASEAN-Norwegian Cooperation Project on Local Capacity Building for Reducing Plastic Pollution in the ASEAN Region (ASEANO) and other efforts in Asia to reduce the flow of plastic waste into the ocean,” said PEMSEA Executive Director Aimee Gonzales.

The event was one of several pre-Congress events, called Collabs, which are technical and public-orientated discussions, workshops and training sessions organised by PEMSEA partners, networks and other organizations. PEMSEA’s Collabs culminated in the East Asian Seas (EAS) Congress, which took place on 1 and 2 December 2021.

Speakers included Deputy Secretary-General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Mr. Ekkaphab Phanthavong; Ambassador of Norway to ASEAN, H.E. Kjell Tormod Pettersen; Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) Section for Catchment Biogeochemistry Researcher, Dr. Hans Fredrik Veiteberg Braaten; Indonesian Society of Limnology Chairman, Dr. Hidayat S.Kom., M.Sc.; OceansAsia Research Director, Dr. Teale Phelps Bondaroff; Our Sea of East Asia Network Founder and President, Dr. Sunwook Hong; De La Salle University – Dasmariñas Social Sciences Department Chair, Dr. Edwin Lineses; NIVA Researcher, Dr. Rachel Hurley; UNDP/GEF Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) National Project Coordinator for Timor-Leste, Mr. Almerindo Olivera da Silva; WWF Extended Producer Responsibility and Global Plastics Policy Coordinator, Mr. Huy Ho; and Cavite  Provincial Government Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Ms. Anabelle Cayabyab. The event was moderated by Arisman, Executive Director of the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Indonesia.

Presentation by Almerindo da Silva, National Project Coordinator for Timor-Leste within the UNDP/GEF Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) Project

Almerindo Olivera Da Silva, National Project Coordinator for Timor-Leste within the UNDP/GEF Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action Phase II (ATSEA-2) Programme, highlighted the marine debris issues in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region, notably plastics and other derelict fishing gear. A study in East Nusa Tenggara found most residents saw sea-based pollution as more serious than land-based pollution, and were also aware of the impacts of pollution had on marine life. In surveys in Timor-Leste, plastic and other debris from in-shore and off-shore fisheries were the most common sorts of waste noted by respondents.

Going forward, the ATSEA-2 Programme aims to initiate a citizen science approach similar to that which is in well-established use by OSEAN. Within the ATSEA-2 region, the need to tackle plastic pollution at source has been deemed critical. Better integration of integrated coastal management (ICM) plans into government policies is needed. Closing up this presentation was a short public communications video on the impacts of plastic pollution.

Funded by the Norwegian Development Programme to Combat Marine Litter and Microplastics, ASEANO is led by NIVA and CSEAS Indonesia, in close collaboration with the PEMSEA Resource Facility and ASEAN Secretariat and under the purview of the endorsing ASEAN sectoral body, the ASEAN Working Group on Coastal and Marine Environment (AWGCME).

The ASEANO project aims to develop a set of sound and sustainable measures to reduce the impacts of plastic pollution and their implications for socioeconomic development and the environment, focusing on the city or municipal level, with West Java in Indonesia and Cavite in the Philippines as project sites.

A novel catchment-based model will be developed to quantify the release, transport and ultimate fate of plastic pollution, plus their future trends under different management options. This will result in the development of targeted and cost-efficient measures for the reduction of plastic waste. The project will also work on the monitoring and evaluation aspect of plastic pollution, particularly the development of a catalogue of monitoring methods, plus capacity building for allies.

The results of the project will then be synthesised into sector-specific roadmaps on plastics management for potential extrapolation to the ASEAN region.

Original article by dailyguardian.com.