Friday, April 19, 2024
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Waging war on plastic

With the recent Environment Week event, Brunei joined the global community in celebrating and contributing to World Environment Day and World Ocean Day.

This was stated by Director of Sustainable Development at the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community, ASEAN Secretariat Ky-Anh Nguyen during a keynote speech on behalf of Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Ekkaphab Phanthavong.

The Environment Week highlighted the urgent need to tackle plastic pollution and marine debris, nature-based solutions, environmental protection and management, climate change and ozone protection.

In the key address, the speaker expressed his concern about the threat caused by plastic pollution.

“Plastic pollution, especially marine plastic pollution, has become a worldwide crisis with dire implications for our ecosystems and human health. To address this pressing issue, we launched the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combatting Marine Debris in the ASEAN member states, along with national and city commitments in the region,” he stated.

The speaker also commented on the Sultanate’s leadership in developing the ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on the Blue Economy adopted at the 38th ASEAN Summit in 2021, which contribute significantly through marine environmental management and conservation.

Director of Sustainable Development Directorate ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community ASEAN Secretariat Ky-Anh Nguyen during the keynote address. PHOTO: ADIB NOOR

“We recognise and appreciate Brunei’s initiatives including the launching of ‘No Plastic Bag Weekend Initiative’, ‘No Plastic Bag Everyday Initiative’ and ‘Plastic Bottle Free Initiative’ as well as ‘Bring Your Own Reusables (BYOR) Initiative’ and the video competition for the public to showcase the community’s creativity to be part of the solution such as a trash-to-treasure competition.

“In our collective action to combat plastic pollution, we join hands with partners such as Germany, World Bank, and Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), engaging in numerous projects and programmes,” he said.

It was also noted that negotiations are currently in the works for the international binding treaty, with the active participation of ASEAN Member States, including Brunei.

The ASEAN representative stated they look forward to seeking guidance from ASEAN member states to elevate ASEAN’s position and demonstrate our contributions to this global action.

Another threat addressed was the alarming depletion of ozone layers.

The speaker highlighted that radiation impacts affect human health and significantly contribute to climate change through the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions – including hydrofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS).

In recognising the significance of enhancing climate change cooperation among ASEAN member states, Brunei Darussalam took the initiative to establish the ASEAN Centre for Climate Change (ACCC) during its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2021.

“The centre’s establishment signifies a significant milestone in our collaborative efforts, and we anticipate its establishment to facilitate regional climate change action and analysis,” he added.

He concluded that ASEAN has collectively reached many milestones through the ASEAN Cooperation on the Environment. “Together with our collaborative partners, ASEAN Secretariat stands ready to work closely with AMS in shaping a common policy framework and transformative action for sustainable and resilient ASEAN societies,” he said.

“We hope these accomplishments are fully aligned with our vision for the ASEAN Community’s Post-2025 Vision and beyond, especially for Brunei Darussalam engaging in the Kigali Amendment and implementing the Montreal Protocol successfully,” he added.

The Environment Week with the ‘Road Towards a Sustainable Environment #BeTheSolution’ theme was launched as part of Brunei Mid-Year Conference and Exhibition 2023 (MYCE 2023) and was held at Chancellor Hall, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, from June 26-27. – Adib Noor