Govt to get WB aid for marine debris
EU, ADB attracted by 'clear roadmap'
The World Bank has pledged to provide financial support for the government's efforts to manage marine debris on its waters, said the permanent secretary for natural resources and environment, Wijarn Simachaya.
"Besides the World Bank, several other foreign financial institutions have pledged to help fund Thailand's marine debris management plan," Mr Wijarn said.
Speaking as the host of the 30th Asean Senior Officials Meeting on the Environment (ASOEN) in Bangkok on Wednesday, Mr Wijarn said that marine debris was one of the top issues discussed repeatedly among Asean members.
"Many suggestions were raised during the meeting, including an offer from international financial institutions to help Asean achieve its goals for regional marine debris management," he said.
In addition, Mr Wijarn said Thailand will receive a separate financial package that will go directly to the government to help the kingdom manage its land-based rubbish so it does not end up as marine debris.
"We've discussed the cooperation mechanism in detail. The World Bank wants to support us because we have a clear roadmap for marine debris management," he said. "Other international institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank and the European Union, also want to work with us."
Mr Wijarn said that with the World Bank's support, the government will use the circular economy principle to deal with marine debris.
"We will also launch a public awareness campaign on the issue," he said, before adding that marine debris management will be one of the main issues highlighted at next year's Asean summit, which will be hosted by Vietnam.
"Marine debris is not just a domestic issue -- it is a trans-boundary problem that requires cooperation from all stakeholders in the region," said Therese Lim, the executive director of Asean Centre for Biodiversity.
Last July, the cabinet approved the roadmap on marine debris management, which contains a timeframe for ending the use of certain kinds of plastic -- such as bottle cap seals, microbeads, styrofoam food containers, and single-use plastic straws.
Thailand produces around 22 million tonnes of garbage per year -- around six million tonnes of which end up as marine debris due to improper management.