In June 2017 over 200 scientists and policy makers from all over the world attended the EnvironmentAsia 2017 conference in Bangkok. All levels of government were present: the United Nations, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the National Thai Government and municipalities. The theme of the conference was ‘Practical Global Policy and Environmental Dynamics’ which covered a variety of topics such as air quality, soil pollution, habitat degradation, solid waste management and marine litter.
Marine litter is an urgent matter, and with more than half of the plastic waste in the oceans coming from Asia, KIMO was invited to deliver two presentations at this conference. Despite, the lack of official funding to finance the trip, KIMO Netherlands and Belgium’s executive secretary, Mike Mannaart, went beyond the call of duty and attended the conference at his own expense.
Mr Mannaart’s first presentation explored KIMO’s flagship ‘Fishing for Litter‘ project as a practical means to reduce the amount of waste already present in the ocean. This was followed by a presentation on the Dutch Green Deal approach as an example of using a network of stakeholder organisations to actively engage society in addressing environmental issues. KIMO serves as secretariat for for two of the marine Green Deals which aim at cleaning the oceans and the preventing beach and marine litter. The presentations were well received and we hope that they may inspire a broader implementation of similar programmes outside Europe.
We would like to thank the organisers of the conference for a stimulating and informative programme and we look forward to the next conference in 2019!