All Hands on Deck: Addressing the Global Marine Plastics Pollution Crisis in Asia
Forthcoming, Chinese Journal of Environmental Law Volume 3(1)
NUS Asia-Pacific Centre for Environmental Law Working Paper 19/02
31 Pages Posted: 14 May 2019 Last revised: 16 May 2019
Date Written: May 13, 2019
Marine plastics pollution (MPP) is an alarming problem affecting many countries, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region, and generated mostly from land-based sources. Five Asian countries (i.e. China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka) have been identified as the largest sources of MPP globally. This article presents two cases studies focused on the two largest polluters: China and Indonesia. Both countries face similar challenges in dealing with plastic pollution. They have weak legal and institutional frameworks in place to deal with MPP. The two case studies also show that there have been more creative and effective measures taken at the domestic level by local governments and non-state actors, many of which involve partnerships among different stakeholders. This article argues that governance efforts to address MPP require an ‘all hands-on deck’ approach, involving a multi-level and multi-actor strategy and targeted regulatory (and non-regulatory) measures. However, our findings also suggest that most efforts should be at the subnational level, where the problem is mainly originated. This article proposes a number of policy recommendations, based on the lessons learned from the case studies, which can be instrumental in reducing the global MPP crisis.
Keywords: marine plastics, oceans, land-based pollution, sub-national governments, NGOs, private sector, Asia-Pacific region
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation