Southeast Asia is a major contributor to the plastic that is choking the world’s oceans.
Countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, and other low-income countries have the highest
shares of plastic waste that is deemed inadequately mismanaged.The non-profit Ocean
Conservancy noted that 55 to 60 percent of plastic waste entering the oceans comes from
just five countries, including four in the region: China, Indonesia, the Philippines,
Thailand and Vietnam. The debris kills marine life and breaks down into micro particles
that make their way into seafood eaten by humans. China ranks the highest in overall
plastic waste disposal, generating an average of around 59.08 million tons of plastic
per year. Other Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, and the
Philippines dispose between 2.5 and 5 million tons of plastic.
However, with the recent rollbacks on plastic imports to the poorly regulated shores
of Southeast Asia, researchers believe China’s ban alone displaced 120 million tons
of plastic in 2017. Thailand has followed suit, stating that it will enforce a total
ban on plastics by 2021. In the Philippines, several companies have set up
innovative and sustainable systems to pay residents for plastic waste this will help
in curbing the problem of plastic waste.