Marine Experts from East Asia Agreed on the Importance of Handling Water Pollution

Jakarta: The welfare of countries in the East Asia region depends on resources derived from the sea as well as other waters.  For that purpose, ASEAN countries, together with the People's Republic of China (PRC), Japan, and the Republic of Korea (ROK), need to increase the cooperation in eradicating  pollution of the  waters, mainly  in tackling the problem of plastic waste that originates  from the mainland.

This was disclosed  by the Director of External Cooperation of ASEAN, Benny YP Siahaan, at the opening of the NEAT Working Group Meeting on Water Pollution.

Indonesia is hosting  the Network of East Asia Think-tanks (NEAT) Working Group on Water Pollution: Developing a Workable Regional Framework to Tackle Water Pollution in ASEAN Plus Three which is taking place  at A One Hotel, Jakarta (28/8).

The Network of East Asia Think-tanks (NEAT) was attended by 11 (eleven) ASEAN Plus Three (APT) countries, except Brunei Darussalam and Laos Who have not been able to send their representatives.  In addition, the Meeting was also attended by academics, think-tanks, related Working Units at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of Indonesia to  ASEAN.

This meeting is a follow-up to the 26th Meeting of the NEAT Country Coordinators' Meeting (CCM) held in Seoul, ROK, on 31 March 2017 and aims to gain views and policy recommendations from experts of APT countries in order to solve  the problem of plastic waste in the territorial waters of the area.

According to  the results of a study from the University of Georgia, about 12.7 million metric tons of plastic waste is being dumped into the sea each year. This causes pollution and negative impacts for various aspects of life, including economic , environmetntal and health aspects. 

The policy recommendations generated at this Meeting will be presented to APT Leaders at the 20th APT Summit scheduled to take place  in the Philippines coming November. It is expected that the NEAT Working Group on Water Pollution Meeting can be the beginning of  the development of a concrete framework to solve plastic problems in the waters of the region. (Source: Directorate of ASEAN External Cooperation)aa