Mekong countries urged to fight plastic pollution in rivers
Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia have been asked to adopt stronger solutions to deal with plastic pollution in the Mekong River and its tributaries. The Mekong River Commission (MRC) said in a Wednesday report that the four member countries should establish a "joint, permanent mechanism to monitor and clean up pollutants that seep into the soil, air and fisheries and can affect both the ecosystem and human health." In its first ever report on "riverine plastic pollution" in the Lower Mekong River Basin (LMB), the MRC recommends that Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam pass and enforce new rules and regulations on waste littering, as well as the so-called "3Rs" model of reduce, reuse, recycle. The four were also urged to improve riverine plastics waste management. The report said that these policies "should specify who should do what, and identify the clear responsibility of national government, local government, private sector and community." The MRC said its own Riverine Plastic Monitoring (RPM) Program estimated that in 2020, these four countries had produced about eight million tons of plastic waste. At ports and piers, for example, some 70% to 90% of the solid waste was identified as plastic bottles, plastic bags and styrofoam.