Indonesia-New Zealand co-chair summit on plastic waste in ocean

Antara 7 Sep 17;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia and New Zealand have co-chaired the East Asia Summit (EAS) to combat plastic waste in the ocean, Indonesias Foreign Affairs Ministry said.

"Our ocean faces a serious problem. Every year, at least 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste are thrown into the ocean. Plastic waste would not only pollute the ocean but also endanger all living things, including humans," the Foreign Affairs Ministrys Director General for ASEAN Cooperation Jose Tavares said in a statement here on Wednesday.

Tavares made his statement at the opening ceremony of the summit held in Bali on Sept 6 and 7.

"Some 80 percent of plastic waste in the ocean came from land sources due to ineffective waste management and unregulated behavior of worlds coastal communities in handling plastic waste," Tavares asserted.

Plastic waste pollution in the ocean would not only create a negative impact on the environment but also cause financial loss due to the declining state revenue from marine sector.

"It is important for the EAS to play an active role. Through this conference, we expect some concrete solutions for the issue of plastic waste in the ocean," he stated.

Indonesia has taken efforts to address the issue of plastic waste, among others, through the establishment of the National Action Plan on Plastic Waste.

The plan is linked to the countrys commitment to reduce Indonesias contribution to plastic waste in the ocean by 70 percent by 2025.

The summit was attended by some 85 representatives of EAS members, including academicians, private sectors, non-governmental organization, and representatives of ASEAN Secretariat.

The conference discussed issues and challenges in managing plastic waste in the ocean and highlighted innovative solution as well as local and national policies, private partnerships, and education to change peoples behavior to actively combat plastic waste.

The Indonesian delegation in the summit has conveyed some approaches taken by the government to combat plastic waste in the ocean, including the issuance of a presidential decree no.16/2017 on Indonesian Maritime Policy and the National Action Plan on Plastic Waste in the Ocean for 2017-2025.

The government has also enforced the policy to convert waste into a source of energy, development of bio-plastic made from cassava and seaweed, and development of garbage banks.
Reported by Yuni Arisandy


Indonesia raises solidarity to tackle plastic pollution at sea
Antara 7 Sep 17;

Kuta, Bali (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government is raising solidarity to jointly tackle marine plastic waste by proposing a regional action plan that countries in Southeast and East Asia can implement.

"We are working on regional cooperation based on a premise that if there is a regional action plan, then other countries will refer to it to make their own plans at the national level," Jose Tavares, Foreign Ministrys director general for ASEAN affairs, noted while delivering an opening speech at the "East Asia Summit Conference on Marine Plastic Debris" in Bali on Wednesday.

During the conference, the Indonesian delegation presented some measures taken to reduce plastic waste at sea based on Presidential Regulation No. 16 of 2017 on Indonesian Marine Policy.

The country has also formulated an action plan to reduce 70 percent of its marine plastic waste by 2025 and a plastic reduction campaign both for the industry and community.

The paid plastic policy that had earlier been applied in 2016 is currently stalled, pending further discussion and negotiations among stakeholders, including the plan to impose excise on plastic products before they enter the market.

A scientific report from the Georgia University estimates that 4.8-12.7 million metric tons of plastic contaminate the oceans. Some 80 percent of the marine plastic waste comes from the mainland due to less-effective waste management and the peoples habit of littering.

For a maritime country, such as Indonesia, the condition can have a major impact on tourism and economic activities, as it has the potential to reduce state revenues.

"Hence, we do hope this conference would bring out shared views on how we can better cooperate to overcome the problem of marine plastic waste that disrupts health, ecosystem, and tourism," Tavares noted.

The "East Asia Summit Conference on Marine Plastic Debris" is organized by Indonesias Foreign Ministry and the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime Affairs in collaboration with the Government of New Zealand.

New Zealands Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Divisional Director of South and Southeast Asia Stephen Harris said his country is eager to tackle plastic pollution at sea that has become a global challenge in the 21st century.

"We are so happy to cooperate with Indonesia and other participating countries at this conference to together find a collective solution to the problem of plastic waste," he noted.

Attended by 85 delegations of government representatives, non-governmental organizations, and academics from 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Japan, South Korea, China, and the US, the two-day conference also highlights innovative solutions, local and national policies, as well as private and public partnerships to educate the people to reduce marine plastic waste.(*)