Australia’s national science agency and the federal government have formed a partnership with Indonesia to address plastic pollution in the Indo-Pacific.
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has announced that, along with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), it has established the Plastics Innovation Hub Indonesia with $950,745 in funding, Xinhua news agency reported.
The hub will bring researchers, investors and the private and public sectors together to collaborate on solutions to plastic waste in waterways in Indonesia and the wider region.
Larry Marshall, chief executive of the CSIRO, said through a collaborative approach plastic pollution could become an environmental and economic benefit.
“Science can turn this environmental challenge into an economic opportunity by changing the way we behave, and how we make, use, recycle or dispose of plastics, but it will take partnerships across research, business, investors, government and the community to turn the best ideas into real-world solutions,” he said in a media release.
“Social innovation is just as important as scientific innovation in solving these challenges, so it’s exciting to have partners on the ground in the region shaping and scaling behavioural response for their own communities, and drive change.”
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), there are between 75 million and 199 million tons of plastic currently in the world’s oceans.
The CSIRO estimates that there are 5 billion to 10 billion individual pieces of plastic on coastlines in the Indo-Pacific alone.
“The health of our oceans and waterways is linked to our nations’ economic growth and prosperity. Both Indonesia and Australia are island nations that share concerns about the impact of marine plastic pollution,” Penny Williams, Australia’s ambassador to Indonesia, said.
“We hope this initiative encourages international partners in the region to work together to develop robust measures to identify effective interventions, fill research gaps, and maximize the impact of our joint investment of resources to address this challenging issue,” Williams said.