Countries along the Mekong River Look into Combatting Plastic Pollution 

The Mekong River Commission (MRC) meeting on plastic pollution took place this month in Vientiane. Photo: MRC.
  • Phoung Vantha
  • February 14, 2020 2:09 PM

Plans are to start with a study of plastic waste in five cities in the region  

PHNOM PENH--The countries members of the Mekong River Commission (MRC) will be taking measures to reduce plastic waste and fight pollution due to plastic in the region. 

During a meeting held on Feb. 11 and 12 in Vientiane, representatives from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam discussed assessment methodologies to study plastic debris and what generate them along the Mekong, according to a press release posted at the MRC website.

Attended by 50 government officials and university researchers from the four countries, the release read, "[they] agreed to assess plastic-waste leakage into the Mekong River system in order to…offer policy recommendations to address the challenges." 

The assessment will involve monitoring and collecting plastic debris and waste leakage at five sites located in major cities: Chiang Rai, Vientiane, Ubon Ratchathani, Phnom Penh and Can Tho.

“The assessment will provide the four Mekong countries with scientific evidence and information on plastic debris, plastic pollution and its threat to the environment and people,” said Kakuko Nagatani-Yoshida, regional coordinator for chemicals, waste and air quality at the United Nations Environment Programme. 

“We hope to incorporate the findings into our next Mekong State of the Basin Report to provide a fuller statement of past trends and present conditions within the basin and to track changes brought about by the Mekong cooperation,” said An Pich Hatda, chief executive officer of the MRC Secretariat. 

“We also hope to develop a Mekong strategic framework for plastic pollution management and create networks across the four countries for the monitoring and management of the Mekong plastic pollution,” he said. 


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