More than 140 teams took part in an innovative challenge to reduce plastic pollution in the Asia-Pacific region organized by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Among competing teams from seven countries – Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, 18 best initiatives were selected for the final round.
To tackle the growing plastic problem, UNDP has announced its second Plastic Pollution Reduction Innovation Challenge (EPPIC), with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Agency. Norwegian Development Cooperation (Norad). EPPIC looks for initiatives to tackle ocean plastic pollution – initiatives that are currently in the process of being finalized but lack the support or resources to develop. The solutions for this challenge are designed to solve the problem in two localities with a large amount of plastic waste, namely Mandalika, Lombok Island in Indonesia and Samal Island in the Philippines. The ultimate goal is to replicate the selected solutions in these two localities.
In the Philippines, nearly 60 billion small plastic bags are used each year, and Samal Island generates nearly 15,000 tons of waste annually. In Indonesia, the annual amount of waste generated is estimated at nearly 6.8 million tons, of which Mandalika, Lombok island generates nearly 215.7 tons of domestic waste (during the COVID-19 pandemic). Before the epidemic, the tourism industry in this area alone had 13,731 tons of garbage per year. Both of these localities were crowded with tourists before the COVID-19 pandemic. Two of the most common types of waste on these two islands are PET bottles and plastic food packaging.
Ms. Nani Hendiarti, in charge of Environment and Forests section of the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, said: “Through the competition, we have made a list of solutions, and this could become one of the best solutions. become a reference and motivation for the ‘innovators’ in Indonesia, because they, after seeing what has been and is being done in other ASEAN countries, will come back and apply appropriate solutions in country, and vice versa. Indonesia also has initiatives that can be applied in neighboring countries, as we are currently facing the same plastic pollution problem.”
The EPPIC finalists will participate in a three-month incubator training course in the Philippines and Indonesia, conducted by business incubators, starting in July 2021. They will receive multidisciplinary training. Covers topics such as the circular economy, how to measure impact, sustainability goals, marketing and crowdfunding, as well as ways to leverage financial support and expand networks. These teams will have the opportunity to refine their ideas, maximize impact, and tailor solutions to best fit the local context.
Mr. Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in the Philippines, said: “The Philippines has a growing number of initiatives that can help tackle the plastic waste crisis in the long term. However, these ideas don’t happen overnight. They all stem from the heartbreaking experiences and common reactions of people when they see plastic waste thrown in the wrong place. Therefore, we need a suitable place and strong support to design, nurture and develop models to help solve these ‘urgencies’, to respond systematically to plastic pollution. , towards development and turning the circular economy into a way of life.”
According to Al David Uy, Mayor of Samal Island, this partnership with UNDP is a “big step forward in improving their initiatives to tackle plastic pollution in island communities like Samal’s.” “.
Four winning solutions will be selected at the final round of the competition, scheduled to take place in October 2021. Each team will receive US$18,000 in primer to implement their solution in Lombok and Samal, within nine months of accelerated training.
Please see the infographic below to learn more about the solutions for the EPPIC 2021 competition.
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