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Jakarta Post

ASEAN must cooperate more to combat plastic waste: Minister

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 6, 2017   /   11:00 pm
ASEAN must cooperate more to combat plastic waste: Minister Protecting the sea: Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan (second right) and Foreign Affairs Minister Retno LP Marsudi (fifth right) accompany Vice President Jusuf Kalla (third right) at the opening of the second IORA Ministerial Conference in Jakarta, on May 10. (Antara/Widodo S. Jusuf)

Indonesia has called on ASEAN countries to cooperate to reduce plastic waste in the sea.

In a luncheon with representatives from 10 ASEAN countries in New York, in the United States, on Monday local time, Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan elaborated the importance of a High-Level Conference of Plastic Waste in the Sea slated for September to address the issue.

“Plastic waste in the sea has inflicted losses of US$1.2 billion in the fisheries, shipping and tourism sectors and insurance business,” said Luhut in the event, which took place at the office of the Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the UN.

“This can lead to a great disaster if we do not take immediate steps because unemployment can trigger poverty and social problems that may eventually lead to radicalism and terrorism,” he went on.

To tackle the problem, Luhut said, Indonesia had cooperated with the World Bank and Denmark to carry out research activities in 15 locations across Indonesia. Indonesia also partnered with the US to research fish populations suspected to have consumed plastic waste.

“Several research reports show that many vessels throw plastic waste in the ocean. Two thirds of the total plastic waste in the world is in South Asian waters,” said Luhut.

Therefore, the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Ministry has arranged action plans to address the issue. They include campaign activities to change people's habits and the issuance of policy reforms and law enforcement to reduce sea-based leakage and plastic production and consumption. (foy/ebf)