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More plastic bags than fish: East Asia’s new environmental threat

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IN MARCH 2019, the fourth Session of the UN Environment Assembly convened in Kenya to discuss the environmental and climate challenges outlined in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 agenda.

The protection of oceans with a specific focus on curbing marine plastic pollution was among the points discussed.

Protecting marine environments is a growing priority in East Asia. In 2016, the World Economic Forum predicted that there would be more ocean plastic waste than fish by 2050 without effective intervention. The conference adopted resolutions on promoting sustainable development, including cooperation in reducing marine plastic debris.

SEE ALSO: What happens to your plastic waste after you ‘recycle’ it?

Marine plastic pollution can threaten the security and development of regional countries and destroys the marine ecosystem by killing sea creatures and polluting the marine environment. Seafood contaminated with microplastics threatens food safety and public health across Asia as many people in the region rely on seafood for their protein intake.

Unsustainable practices in marine-related economic sectors are contributing to the surging amount of plastic debris in regional seas that harm local businesses. Bali and Boracay depend on revenues from tourism. Severe plastic pollution in the coastal areas damages their reputation as popular tourist destinations, while disruption in the marine ecosystem can also intensify competition between states for marine resources.

Gina Galan, 45, collects plastic bottles on the Boracay dumpsite called “materials recovery facility (MRF)” in the Philippine island of Boracay on April 25, 2018. Source: Noel........

© Asian Correspondent