Consensus Statement from Asia Pacific Clean-up Coordinators
February 1, 2017
Since 1986, we, the Leading Coordinators of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal CleanupTM (Clean-up) in Asia Pacific, have organised more than 30,000 Clean-ups for a common purpose: to prevent marine debris from entering our ocean. Our combined efforts have recruited 9,936,297 people throughout Asia Pacific to participate in the annual Clean-up—the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of ocean health. Together, with our global Clean-up partners, we have removed more than 100,000 metric tons of marine debris from beaches and waterways and have kept over 230 million items of rubbish out of the ocean. In 2015 alone, more than 529,000 volunteers in our region participated in the International Coastal Cleanup removing over 6 million kilograms of debris—nearly 75% of all trash collected during the global Clean-up.
Through these efforts, data collected on the most persistent forms of marine debris have informed policy at local, national and international levels to better manage, and in some instances eliminate, the most problematic forms of marine debris, specifically, plastics. Plastic bag bans at the municipal, state and country levels is one such example.
As Coordinators of the International Coastal Cleanup in Asia Pacific and leaders on the issue of marine debris, we routinely serve as the last line of defense against the deluge of marine debris, particularly plastics, entering the ocean. The current estimate of 8 million metric tons of plastics entering the ocean annually are of great concern, along with significant increases predicted with continual growth of both the global population and plastic consumption. We highlight this growing marine threat, given the sheer volume and its negative impacts on marine wildlife and habitats, including the people, communities and economies that depend on a healthy ocean.
As such, we resolved to prioritise work on actions to stop the flow of plastics into the ocean at our November 2016 Asia-Pacific Cleanup Coordinator Conference in Hong Kong. This includes our work to:
- Provide educational tools for diverse communities around the world;
- Prioritize source reduction efforts and the establishment of sustainable waste collection and recycling in communities where it does not currently exist;
- Work with businesses to begin the process of eliminating the most problematic items of debris entering the ocean ;
- Incorporate zero-waste principles into marine plastic debris mitigation and management efforts whenever and wherever feasible,
- Educate citizens on the problem of plastic marine debris to enable better decision making; and
- Grow the International Coastal Cleanup to build an even stronger, more effective global constituency committed to a clean ocean and reducing waste.
We leave Hong Kong as a more unified network and seek to leverage our expertise in future collaborations and at global fora. We believe the time is now for a commitment to collective action by all sectors – including industry, governments and civil society organisations – to stop trash, especially plastic, from entering the ocean.
The signees of this statement showcase a diverse array of International Coastal Cleanup National Coordinators representing 26 countries, states and networks throughout Asia Pacific. By working together across sectors, we are stronger, and we can develop an international framework for source reduction efforts to eliminate marine plastic debris at a global scale to keep our ocean and communities resilient and healthy. Our hope in doing so is that one day, we can all gather for the International Coastal Cleanup only to realise that there is no trash to pick up.
Hannah Pragnell-Raasch, Project AWARE, Australia
Heidi Taylor, Tangaroa Blue Foundation, Australia
Muntasir Mamun, Kewkradong Bangladesh, Bangladesh
Yonglong Liu, Shanghai RENDU Ocean NPO Development Center, Peopole’s Republic of China
Jaime Paredes, Mar Y Ambiente Consultores, Ecuador
Lisa Christensen, Ecozine, Hong Kong Cleanup, Hong Kong SAR, People’s Republic of China
Parvin Malhotra, Indian Maritime Foundation, India
Hanako Yokota, Japan Environmental Action Network (JEAN), Japan
Emily Koch, Coast 2 Coast, Perú
Hazel Panes, The Zoological Society of London - Philippines, The Philippines
Sunwook Hong, Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN), Republic of Korea
Jongmyoung Lee, Our Sea of East Asia Network (OSEAN), Republic of Korea
Iana Blinovskaia, Maritime State University named after Admiral G.I. Nevelskoy, Russia
Sivasothi N., National University of Singapore, Singapore
Reynaldo Molina, UNEP/Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA) Secretariat Thailand
Niphon Phongsuwan, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Thailand
Thomas Cutt, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, United States of America
Kathryn Davis, Puget Soundkeeper, United States of America
Joy Hawkins, Stop Oregon Littering And Vandalism (SOLVE), United States of America
Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy, United States of America
Eben Schwartz, California Coastal Commission, United States of America
Chris Woolaway, Keep the Hawaiian Islands Beautiful, United States of America