Written Reply by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, to Parliamentary Question on Marine Debris
Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment based on the ASEAN Framework of Action on Marine Debris (a) what steps Singapore has taken with the national governments of other ASEAN countries to develop a regional action plan on combating marine debris; and (b) what updates are there on the establishment of an ASEAN Centre on Combating Marine Debris.
Marine litter is a key environmental concern for the ASEAN region and will require collective action by all stakeholders. Singapore has been working with fellow ASEAN Member States, and international marine litter experts and industry stakeholders, to develop an ASEAN Regional Action Plan on Combatting Marine Debris. This follows from the commitment made by ASEAN Leaders in the 2019 Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region.
The Regional Action Plan is in the final stages of endorsement by ASEAN. It will list out actions to reduce plastic waste; enhance their collection and minimize leakage; and create value from waste reuse, to support a more sustainable approach to plastics and waste in the region. The Plan’s proposed regional actions will enhance ASEAN’s collective and individual capabilities to address marine debris pollution through both upstream and downstream measures. ASEAN Member States will continue to assess the feasibility of establishing an ASEAN Centre of Combating Marine Debris to support the Plan’s implementation.
Singapore welcomes regional cooperation with ASEAN to reduce marine debris pollution and supports the early endorsement and implementation of the Regional Action Plan. We are an active contributor to international and regional platforms that address marine litter. Last November, Singapore organised a virtual training programme on urban solid waste management for ASEAN Member States, to build regional capacity on sound waste management practices and prevent the leakage of litter into waterways and the ocean. Singapore also partnered Norway to conduct two runs of a joint capacity training programme on waste management and reduction of marine litter for Asian countries in October 2017 and March 2019.