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India, Australia & Singapore to Jointly Control Marine Pollution

Continuing with India’s commitment to fight climate change and curb pollution, India along with Australia and Singapore have decided to work together to contain marine pollution. According to an official statement, the three countries will conduct research, monitor, and assess marine litter to come up with sustainable solutions to address plastic pollution in the marine ecosystem. 

Plastic pollution in both land and in water bodies is a major concern to maintain the ecosystem in pristine form. 

The collaboration was announced during the keynote address at a virtual international workshop by East Asia Summit (EAS) on controlling and combating marine pollution. The workshop was hosted by the governments of these three countries. The two-day event organized from 14-15 February was attended by policymakers, technical experts, policy analysts, scientists, industry insiders, and informal sector representatives from the East Asia Summit (EAS) countries. The attempt is to look for long-term solutions as well as immediate measures. 

Representing the government of India, Secretary, Earth Sciences, Dr. M. Ravichandran, who also delivered the keynote address suggested the use of technological tools such as remote sensing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to map the distribution of marine plastics. Such studies can help develop models to understand the dynamics of plastics in the Indian Ocean.

The Indian official also emphasized the need for a well-designed and tailor-made management strategy given the regional distinctiveness will significantly reduce plastics in the environment.

The two-day event energized EAS countries to further share communication and findings of each other’s challenges, questions, and solutions to marine litter. The focus would be on plastic research, use, design, disposal, recycling. Countries can look at future collaborations for a plastic-free and healthy ocean for sustainable development through knowledge partners – India’s National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), Singapore, and Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.

The EAS platform is a major forum for discussions on key strategic issues in the Indo-Pacific. This also serves as a leading confidence-building mechanism. EAS formed in 2005 has advocated regional peace, security, closer regional cooperation, and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the Indian Ocean region.

The workshop among other things focussed on – the size of the marine litter problem, monitoring programs and research on plastic debris in the Indo-Pacific Region, best practices and technologies, solutions to prevent plastic pollution, and polymers and plastics: technology and innovations and opportunities for regional collaboration to remediate or stop plastic pollution.