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Vietnam, Other Mekong Nations Launch Joint Program to Tackle River Plastic Waste

A regional workshop was recently held to discuss plastic pollution in the Mekong River.

Hosted by the Mekong River Commission and the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Vientiane, the workshop united 50 government officials and researchers from Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, VnExpress reports. The discussion involved finding methodologies to assess plastic waste leakage in the Mekong River system.

The Mekong River Commission website cites a study published in Environmental Science & Technology that found that the Mekong is among 10 rivers that are responsible for collectively carrying 88–95% of plastics into the ocean, hence the need for such assessment.

“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, the UNEP Regional Coordinator for Chemicals, Waste and Air Quality.

During the assessment, five sites located in Chiang Rai, Vientiane, Ubon Ratchathani, Phnom Penh and Can Tho will be monitored. The process involves collecting samples of plastic debris and waste leakage at these sites. The monitoring will be led by four universities.

The member countries will later produce national reviews of the status of plastic debris and the legal and institutional framework related to the topic. The workshop is part of a 10-month long project titled Counter-MEASURE, also known as the Project on Promotion of Countermeasures Against Marine Plastic Litter in Southeast Asia and India.

[Photo via Flickr user Adrian Tritschler]

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