Innovators join ASEAN-wide call to combat marine plastic pollution hinh anh 1In Indonesia, the annual waste generation is estimated to be up to 6.8 million tonnes. (Photo: AFP/VNA)
Hanoi (VNA) – Over 140 innovators have joined the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) innovation challenge to combat plastic pollution in the Asia-Pacific region.

From the group of innovators, 18 finalists were selected from seven countries – Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Thailand, the UNDP said in a press release.

To help address the worsening plastic problem, UNDP launched the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) Phase II early this year with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

EPPIC seeks to find innovative ways to fight ocean plastic, that are under development but lack the support or visibility to grow. For this year’s challenge, the proposed solutions will be piloted in two high-traffic sites, the Mandalika, Lombok Island in Indonesia and Samal Island in the Philippines; with the ambition to scale up innovations.

In the Philippines, up to 60 billion plastic sachets are used each year, with Samal Island generating approximately 15,000 tonnes of wastes annually.

In Indonesia, the annual waste generation is estimated to be up to 6.8 million tonnes, with Mandalika, Lombok Island total household waste generation reaching 215.7 tonnes per year (during pandemic) and the tourism sector contributing more than 13,731 tonnes/year before the pandemic.

Both sites had a high-foot traffic of tourists prior the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the most common types of waste generated in both islands are PET bottles and other plastic food packaging.

The EPPIC Finalists will join a three-month incubation program in the Philippines and Indonesia to be delivered by business incubators starting in July 2021.

They will undergo an extensive training on various topics such as the circular economy, impact measurement, the Sustainable Development Goals, marketing and crowdfunding as well as leveraging financial support and accelerating their networks. The EPPIC Finalists will have the chance to improve their proposed solutions to maximize their impact and tailor their ideas to the local contexts.

The top four winners will be selected in October 2021 during the EPPIC Final Pitching Competition, where each of them will receive18,000 USD in equity-free seed funding to implement their proposed solutions over the nine-month impact acceleration process in Lombok and Samal Island./.