Furthermore, 60% of it comes from Asia. 

Across the ASEAN region, we can see waste and plastic polluting beaches, the ocean, and delicate ecosystems like coral reefs, as well as harming marine animals who frequently mistake it for food.

Plastic also takes hundreds of years to degrade, breaking down into tiny particles that mix into seawater and are difficult to filter out. These so-called microplastics affect life all along the food chain, and eventually wind up inside of the humans who consume them as seafood.

According to one study, Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines are four of the largest contributors of marine plastics. They are major importers, producers, and consumers of plastic, and possess limited waste management systems leading to the leakage of plastics into the environment.


EPPIC is embarking on a 2.5-year journey to identify and scale up the most promising new solutions in the ASEAN region to address this growing problem, with a particular focus on four of the top offenders: Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

During Phase 2 of EPPIC (2021-2022), the challenge is targeting two high-traffic sites to tackle plastic waste where small changes can make a big difference: Mandalika, Lombok Island in Indonesia and Samal in the Philippines.

Mandalika, Lombok Island

Mandalika, Lombok Island

Mandalika is located on the southern coast of Lombok Island, famous for a 7.2 km white beach. Mandalika is among the “10 New Bali Initiative” locations selected by the government aiming for boosting tourism development in particular locations in Indonesia.


About the location

  • Mandalika comprises 4 villages of 6,412 km2 as the Main Area, and 2 villages of 1,968 km2 as the Buffer Area, with total population of 46,432 (2020).
  • Tourist number reached 618,120 persons in 2019. This number is projected to quadruple by 2025.
  • In addition to the tourism industry, main activities include salt farming, aquaculture, mangrove forest development, among others.


Waste and plastic waste generation in Mandalika

  • Total waste generation in Mandalika is estimated to be around 215.7 tonnes / year in 2020, when there was a sharp decline in tourist number due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The average plastic waste generation in Mandalika area is 107.8 tonnes / year in 2020 (during the pandemic). Pre-pandemic data are not available.


Marine Plastic Litter

  • Total plastic waste generation at 5 beaches in Mandalika Special Economic Zone is 36 tonnes/year (during COVID-19 pandemic).
  • The 2 main types of plastics found were PETE / PET (4%) and PP (70%). PE, as nylon from fishing line/net, is less than 1%.
  • PP (70% of plastic waste) is mainly in the form of food containers, yoghurt drinking bottles, baby bottles.
  • PETE / PET (4%) is in the form of drinking bottles of mineral water, glasses of mineral water and others.


Estimated Sources of Marine Plastic Litter

  • Tourism Activity and Infrastructure Development
  • Insufficient land-based waste management

Samal Island

The Island Garden City of Samal is a coastal city of Davao del Norte province, situated at the heart of Davao Gulf in the southern part of the Philippines.

Key Facts:

  • Samal City has a total land area of 30,130 hectares. It includes two main islands, Samal Island and Talicud Island, and other smaller islands, Malipano, Big Ligid and Little Ligid. The island has three major rivers and lakes, namely; Benoling River, Tagbaobo River and Bagsak Lake.
  • Samal City’s total population was 104,123 people and 26,245 households in 2015[1] and increased to 110,000 people in 2020.
  • A promising city endowed with natural resources, its economy is dependent on agriculture, fisheries and tourism.
  • Visitors in Samal grew from 520,000 tourists in 2013 to 1.8 million in 2019.
  • As part of Davao Gulf which is a known marine key biodiversity area, Samal Island is home to diverse marine flora and fauna, some of which are endangered including whale sharks and Dugong.

Plastic waste in Samal City

  • Total waste generation in 2013 was 43,599.74 kg/day and estimated to have increased to 48,241.93 kg/day in 2019[2]
  • Out of all types of waste generated:52% is biodegradable/food waste, 21% is recyclable and 27.6% is residual waste, bulk of which is made of plastic

Sources of plastic pollution:

  • Household consumption
  • Tourism and food establishments
  • Waste generated from neighboring municipalities that ends up in Samal coast.

[1] Latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority

[2] Based on Total Waste Generation Projections, ICAGOS Ecological Solid Waste Management Plan 2013-2023

Samal Island

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Quang Ninh Province in the north of Viet Nam.

Key facts:

  • Three districts border Ha Long Bay with a total population of 477,000
  • The area welcomed 14 million tourists in 2019, with a turnover of USD$1.25 billion
  • Huge fish-farming industry with 20,600 ha of farming ponds and 9,600 cages
  • 40 inhabited islands, many with a very limited waste management system
  • Most solid waste is burned or sent to landfills

Plastic waste in Ha Long Bay (estimations):

  • 28,283 tons of plastic waste generated annually
  • Around 5,272 tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year
  • 34 tons of waste generated daily by tourist activities
  • 7 tons of waste collected daily by dedicated vessels during the tourist season
  •  Most common plastic waste items: Styrofoam boxes, lunch boxes, plastic bags, porous buoys, and fishing nets

Major sources of pollution:

  • Tourism
  • Fishing
  • Small island municipalities
  • Land-based generation of waste
Download the baseline studies for Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui here

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is the largest island in an archipelago located off the north-eastern coast of Surat Thani Province in Thailand.

Key facts:

  • Area of 227 km2 with a population of 1,950,768
  • Very famous tourist destination with more than 2.5 million visitors in 2017
  • Limited waste management system reliant on shipping to the mainland
  • Awareness is low, and illegal dumping is a common practice
  • Small fisheries operate along the coastline for selling to the local market

Plastic waste on Koh Samui (estimations):

  • 10,800 tons of plastic waste generated annually
  • 51% of total marine litter in Thai waters is plastic waste
  • 1,700 restaurants, generating 132 kg/store/week
  • Most common plastic waste items: bags, bottles, straws, and mixing sticks

Major sources of pollution:

  • Tourism
  • Land-based generation of plastic waste

Marine litter

Download the baseline studies for Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui here

Koh Samui

EPPIC is looking for innovative solutions that combat plastic pollution, offer sustainable alternatives, enhance plastic value chains, foster recycling, minimise pollution from tourism, and support plastic monitoring while collaborating with local communities
to contribute to the green transition of Mandalika, Lombok Island and Samal Island.