More than 90 representatives from the ARF are attending the three-day workshop, co-chaired by the governments of Vietnam, the US, and Thailand, as approved by the 25th ARF Ministerial Meeting in Singapore last August.
In her opening speech, Caryn R McClelland, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Vietnam, stressed a healthy ocean will contribute to economic growth, create prosperity, and ensure global food security.
Experts estimated that 80 percent of marine debris is improper waste disposal from inland sources, while the rest consists of polluted substances from operating ships or abandoned fishing equipment. The pollution has been posing a large threat to coastlines and biodiversity.
Such a fact requires a comprehensive set of solutions and coordination from all sides involved to build and implement a strategy on managing and reducing marine plastic waste, she said.
Speaking at the workshop, Head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam’ ASEAN Department Vu Ho said the country, acknowledging the importance of ocean and marine resources, has built a state management system at sea and on islands. Most recently, the 12th Party Central Committee issued a resolution on sustainable sea economic development by 2030 with a vision to 2045 at its eighth plenary meeting. According to the resolution, the Vietnamese Government has begun making a national action strategy on marine plastic waste management and studies towards build a management policy related to plastic pollution at sea.
As heard at the first discussion session, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste is being dumped into the ocean every year. Five out of the top 10 polluters worldwide are ASEAN member states.
Presented with reports focusing on the negative impacts of plastic waste on fishing and aquatic farming in the regional waters, participants pointed to related challenges, practical experiences, and opportunities for cooperation to protect marine environment, as well as to ensure sustainable fishing and food security.