PRESS ADVISORY: ‘The Plastic Initiative’ launch in Hanoi seeks joint action on pollution
Plastic waste is one of the greatest environmental threats of our time, with overproduction, wasteful “throw-away” lifestyles and poor waste management policies around the world contributing to a problem that has gotten out of control. This mismanagement of plastic as a resource has led to the accumulation of vast amounts of plastic all over the globe, particularly in the oceans. About 12 billion tons of plastic will contaminate the oceans by the year 2050, according to some estimates. Southeast Asian countries particularly are struggling with the constant rising plastic waste.
Four months after the soft launch of UNESCO’s “The Plastic Initiative” in November 2018 in Bangkok, the official launch will be held during a series of events to celebrate World Water Day on March 18, 2019 at the Green One UN House in Hanoi. A small group of waste management and environmental specialists from Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam will represent their countries in a discussion and workshop on plastic pollution issues.
Viet Nam is hosting the “The Plastic Initiative” launch as one country in the region that has shown particular concern and enthusiasm to develop solutions to address plastic pollution. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment highlighted this commitment at the end of the two-day soft launch in November in Bangkok.
“The Plastic Initiative” has two core components: First, the implementation of grass-roots plastic waste management projects; second, the development of waste management action plans for ASEAN countries.
Youth participants from the Asia-Pacific region are invited to submit grass-roots proposals for plastic waste management, focusing on the three “R”s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. A committee of scientific specialists will evaluate these proposals for prospective funding, with solutions tested in UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, outcomes monitored and environmental impacts assessed. The emphasis on youth in the Asia-Pacific recognizes their crucial role in future environmental stewardship and changing consumer behaviours.
In addition to funding the grass-roots proposals, the initiative also seeks to assist ASEAN countries to develop synchronised national plastic waste action plans and promote circular economies, particularly as Viet Nam and Thailand have committed to tackle ever-growing plastic pollution, to better address cross-boundary pollution.
As a holistic project, “The Plastic Initiative” wants to go further than traditional “easy fix” aesthetic solutions such as beach clean-up campaigns and focus on long-term sustainable solutions to manage plastic waste.
GOUNH Green One UN House
Address: 304 Kim Mã, Ngọc Khánh, Ba Đình, Hà Nội, Vietnam
9.00 until 16.30 on Monday 18 March 2019
9.00 - 9.15 Registration
9.15 – 9.25 Opening remarks
9.25 – 9.30 Short film presentation (by UNESCO, FAO, UNEP, and UNDP)
9.30 – 10.00 Keynote 1
10.00 – 10.05 short film presentation (The Plastic Initiative)
10.05 – 10.30 Keynote 2
10.30 – 10.45 Break
10.45 – 12.30 Various keynote presentations on plastic issues in Mekong countries
12.30 – 13.45 Lunch
13.45 – 15.15 Discussion and group work
15.15 – 15.30 conclusion
15.30 – 16.00 plenary presentation on the way forward
16.00 – 16.30 Official launch of ‘The Plastic Initiative’ and cocktails
For general enquiries:
Mr Timothy Bender
Natural Science Department, UNESCO Bangkok
t.bender (at) unesco (dot) org