COBSEA and National University of Singapore launch database of marine litter research from 13 Asian countries


COBSEA and National University of Singapore launch database of marine litter research from 13 Asian countries


Bangkok, 5 August 2020 – With plastic pollution a major priority for governments across Asia, scientists have been working diligently to expand our understanding of the problem. But the research has varied widely across countries, including in methodologies, types of data collected, study areas, baselines, and other elements critical to governments who need to make policy decisions based on the research.

Working with the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Coordinating Body on the Seas of East Asia (COBSEA), the UN Environment Programme has conducted a comprehensive review of nearly 400 scientific publications on marine plastic pollution in 13 countries in South East and East Asia. The review includes a comprehensive report of published plastic pollution research, policies and initiatives in ASEAN+3 as well as a searchable database of research and a series of graphics. It is the first review and database of its kind for the region.

“Research is crucial to support good decision-making,” said Jerker Tamelander, COBSEA Coordinator. “A wealth of research exists in the region, which is critical for governments to make evidence-based decisions. This review gives us a foundation for regional knowledge management and networking on marine plastic pollution.”

Plastic pollution is a national and regional challenge, as plastic waste is generated in substantial amounts and flows across borders across Asia. Ongoing research from the region provides critical information to inform the work of intergovernmental bodies and governments to prevent the waste from entering the marine environment. By consolidating the research in one place, the hope is that researchers will be able to more easily collaborate and access current scientific knowledge.

“We see a real need and opportunity for establishing regional networks of experts and researchers to catalyse collaborative and interdisciplinary research and bridge existing knowledge gaps,” said Dr. Nilüfer Oral, the Director of the Centre for International Law at NUS.

The review was developed by an interdisciplinary research team with additional support from the UNEP-COBSEA SEA circular project and the Singapore Maritime Institute. With new studies examining the plastic pollution problem being published regularly, the online inventory of marine litter research and frameworks will be continuously expanded and updated.

Visit the searchable online catalogue of marine litter frameworks and the marine litter research inventory and read more about COBSEAs work on marine litter and NUS’ research online.

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