Japan and UNDP sign $3 million grant to combat plastic waste pollution in Kingdom - Khmer Times

Japan and UNDP sign $3 million grant to combat plastic waste pollution in Kingdom - Khmer Times


Japanese ambassador Mikami Masahiro (L) and UNDP resident representative Nick Beresford sign a $3 million grant to tackle plastic pollution with Minister of Environment Say Samal as a witness. Ministry of Environment

The government of Japan together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) signed a $3 million grant agreement to combat plastic pollution in the Kingdom.

The agreement was signed on Wednesday by Japanese Ambassador Mikami Masahiro and UNDP Cambodia resident representative Nick Beresford, witnessed by the Minister of Environment Say Samal.

The Japanese embassy said the grant will be used to tackle pollution in all stages of the cycle of plastic: manufacturing, distribution, consumption and disposal.

“We believe this grant can contribute to the Cambodian city-living environment and help prevent additional marine plastic pollution in the future,” it said.

A UNDP statement said that to further tackle plastic pollution, this new project will develop regulations, raise awareness, and reduce plastic waste in target areas, and promote recycling and plastic alternatives.

Target provinces were identified as major cities (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh) to reduce plastic entering the waterways and coastal provinces (Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot and Koh Kong) as the last point of entry to the marine environment.

The Ministry of Environment said that for implementation it will join with the National Council
for Sustainable Development
and the UNDP, to promote the 4Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

“Marine plastic pollution has become one of the largest environmental crises in the world,” said Masahiro. “During the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019, the government of Japan launched a new initiative to advance effective actions against marine plastic pollution.”

The UNDP said that the surge in plastic waste has become one of the biggest challenges in today’s world. It is used for bags, bottles and containers. Plastic is now everywhere in our homes, schools and workplaces.

Rampant use has come at a heavy price, it said. The worldwide total volume of plastic has reached 8.3 billion metric tonnes. Every year, 13 million tonnes of plastic reaches the ocean, which is equivalent to a full garbage truck every minute.

It said that around 90 percent of plastic waste ending up in the ocean comes from just 10 major rivers, one of which is the Mekong.

The biggest problem is that plastic does not biodegrade easily, staying around for hundreds of years. In marine areas, more than one million mammals, fish and birds suffer from ingesting plastic or becoming entangled in plastic materials, it said.

The UNDP added that more than 90 percent of all birds and fish are reported to have plastic particles in their stomach. Toxic chemicals then accumulate and pass through the food chain to our bodies. More than 100 countries including Cambodia are introducing new measures for plastic waste.

It said that Cambodia has promoted the 4Rs framework to provide solutions to the country’s plastic problem, including a sub-decree to introduce a small charge on plastic bags since 2018.

“The effective reduction of plastic waste requires a concerted effort from everyone,” said Samal. “Through this project, we can showcase best practices for plastic intervention, which can help other Asean countries follow Cambodia’s lead in fighting marine plastic pollution. Combating plastic pollution is a daunting task. This project will however bring about changes, which demonstrates the power of a shift to a green, circular economy,” said Beresford.

Source: Khmer Times