On May 05, 2023, Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation and Cambodia University of Technology and Science hosted a workshop on “Using Science to Fight Marine Plastic Pollution in Cambodia”, which aimed to raise awareness and foster collaboration among various stakeholders on this environmental pressing issue.
The workshop was presided over by Dr. HUL Seingheng, Director General of the GDSTI at the MISTI. The workshop was part of the Cambodia’s efforts to strengthen the Science Policy-practice Interface (SPPI) in Cambodia and to develop a roadmap and action plan for building a SPPI on marine plastic pollution.
The workshop featured presentations by experts from different organizations, such as COMPOSTED Organization, Institute Technology of Cambodia, and Ministry of Environment. Experts shared their knowledge and practice on composting organic waste, recycling plastic waste into useful products, and analyzing the flow of plastic bags in Cambodia. The experts also discussed the policies, regulations, incentives, and challenges related to plastic bag management in Cambodia and suggested some recommendations for improving the situation.
It also featured a panel discussion on “Science to Fight Marine Plastic Pollution”, moderated by Dr. Hul Seingheng. The panelists answered questions from the participants on various aspects of the problem and shares insightful solutions. It was agreed at the event that changing people’s habits and behaviors took time and commitment, and that it should begin in childhood. The event also agreed that efforts are needed to involve the private sector and the collection of waste fees is required from the citizens to fund for improvements. The event examines some best examples of different waste collection systems in various provinces. It was concluded that the solutions were raising awareness, engaging the private sector, and supporting systems by the government.
The workshop also addressed that the system should prioritize teaching primary school students about recycling, technology, and how to use it to cope with waste. Furthermore, in the form of a start-up, investment in creating space where everyone can access and produce usable products from waste could be a worthy initiative.
The workshop was attended by about 60 participants, including students, scientists, researchers, academics, policymakers, and practitioners involved in marine plastic pollution measures in Cambodia. Participants expressed their enthusiasm and appreciation for the workshop, and hoped that it would lead to greater cooperation and action on this critical issue.
The workshop was funded by INGSA-Asia Grassroots Awards 2022 seed grant and was supervised and supported by Prof Dr Abhi Veerakumarasivam, Provost of Sunway University in Malaysia and a prominent figure in the ASEAN science community. He holds various leadership roles in regional and international projects and networks that aim to foster responsible conduct of research, scientific collaboration and communication.