12 May 2020
Four Asian Cities Adopt Circular Approach to Close Plastic Loop
story highlights

ESCAP's ‘Closing the Loop’ project is supported by the Government of Japan.

It will help to build the capacity of ASEAN cities to plan for and manage their plastic waste using circular economy principles.

The pilot cities are: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Surabaya, Indonesia; Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand and Da Nang, Viet Nam.

The UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) has announced a four-city pilot of a project to make plastic waste management more “circular” and reduce plastic pollution of the marine environment.

Southeast Asia is the world’s “most polluting region” for ocean plastics, as noted by ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana. The region’s fast-growing cities, in particular, contribute approximately 60% of plastic waste leakage into the environment. The pollution originates from uncollected waste and leakages in municipal waste management systems.

Local governments will use digital tools to identify waste generation “hot spots.”

Launched on 5 May 2020, the ‘Closing the Loop’ project, which is supported by the Government of Japan, will help to build the capacity of ASEAN cities to plan for and manage their plastic waste using circular economy principles. The pilot cities are: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Surabaya, Indonesia; Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand and Da Nang, Viet Nam.

First, a digital tool will help local governments monitor plastic waste leakage and identify “hot spots” for waste generation. The tool will use remote sensing, satellite and crowdsourced data applications to produce plastic waste maps and simulations.

Second, the project will provide training and tools for policymakers to develop policy and investment strategies that apply a “circular economy” approach in managing their plastic waste streams.

The project will support local implementation of two intergovernmental frameworks: the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris; and the G20 Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, which was introduced during Japan’s presidency of the Group of 20 (G20) in 2019. The Osaka Vision is a commitment by G20 leaders to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050.

The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) and other partners will collaborate with ESCAP and Japan to implement the project with local and national governments in Southeast Asia. [ESCAP press release] [Project webpage]

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