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 I of EPPIC (2020-2021), the challenge is targeting two high-traffic sites to tackle plastic waste where small changes can make a big difference: Ha Long Bay in Viet Nam and Koh Samui in Thailand.

Plastic in Halong 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 (Samui Island)

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

Plastic in Koh Samuii

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 Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui.


Coming in 2021: EPPIC Phase II – Indonesia and the Philippines