Plastic Waste in Southeast Asia: Urban Case Studies

Discussion Paper

Unmanaged plastic waste poses a major socio-economic, environmental and health risk to urban and marine environments in the Asia Pacific. Each year South-east Asian countries produce 11.7 million metric tonnes of plastic waste, of which over 60% is derived from urban areas. Therefore a focus on effective city governance will be vital to tackle the plastic waste crisis. Plastic pollution is transboundary and requires a multidisciplinary response that considers both urban development, environmental and waste management policy sectors.  

Closing the Loop, a project implemented by ESCAP and IGES in partnership with the Government of Japan, aims to reduce the environmental impact of four cities in ASEAN by tackling plastic pollution. This report was developed in support of the second broad objective 'to work with partner cities and develop action plans, policies and investment strategies to address marine plastic litter'. In detail it compiles verified baseline data; key socio-economic, waste sector and governance indicators; and environmental and stakeholder mapping for each partner city. It highlights ambitious city, national and international initiatives to manage plastic waste and covers a diverse range of urban environments. Each chapter addresses a different city: Da Nang, Viet Nam; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Surabaya, Indonesia; Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand. 

This publication was developed by ESCAP with contribution from IGES team and all its country level focal points who shared valuable insights for each city. 

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