UNDP continues seeking innovative solutions to reduce plastic pollution in Indonesia and the Philippines

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Indonesian National Coordinating Team for Marine Debris Handling Secretariat, Indonesian Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment and the Archipelagic Island States Forum, the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the local authorities of Samal Island (the Philippines) and Mandalika, Lombok Island (Indonesia), are co-hosting the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) 2021, with the support from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year’s competition focuses on seeking innovative solutions to help solve the plastic problem in Mandalika, Lombok Island (Indonesia), and Samal Island (the Philippines).

All individuals, organisations from ASEAN countries, or any team from other countries who have at least one member who is ASEAN national, with the ability to communicate clearly and give presentations in English, are welcome to participate in the EPPIC competition. The application period is from now till 23 May 2021. The result of the application round is expected to be announced in June 2021.

Research from the Indonesian Institute of Sciences states that around 268,740 – 594,558 tons of plastic waste are leaking into this country’s marine every year. Ms. Sophie Kemkhdaze, as Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP Indonesia, shared this concern, “Based on other studies, it shows that Southeast Asia is the region with the largest contribution to plastic leakage in the marine. UNDP hopes that EPPIC can contribute to decreasing this number through the emergence of innovative solutions, their development, and replication.”

Dr. Selva Ramachandran, UNDP Resident Representative in the Philippines, informed that “Marine plastic litter has been posing significant environmental, economic and social cost to the country and its people. With rapid urbanization, economic development, and increasing population, confounded by impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, waste generation is expected to increase and poses significant challenges to the countries, if measures are not undertaken. In 2019, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources estimated that the country generated 21 million metric tonnes of waste, which is a 56% increase from 2010. Among the solid waste generated, 11% is plastic”. He also shared: “With the EPPIC project, we are hopeful to introduce innovative solutions that would offer a systemic approach to addressing the plastic pollution and would facilitate a transition to a circular economy.”

According to Mr. Bjornar Hotvedt, Minister Counsellor of the Royal Norwegian Embassy, Southeast Asia is the hotspot for marine plastic debris crisis, and so many people think that it would take years before progress could be seen in the region. He stressed, “To solve the problem, the government has to act; commitment and contribution from society are needed. I believe EPPIC, which NORAD also supports, can stimulate innovative solutions from the society that can solve the plastic marine crisis in the ocean”.

Four winning solutions will receive a total of 72,000 USD of seed funding, participate in a 9-month impact acceleration programme and have the opportunities to network with impact investing firms and other key development players in the ASEAN region.

For more details and to apply to the challenge, please visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/OceanorPlastic.

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