March 2, 2020
On February 27, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Record of Discussions with the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand in Bangkok for the Project for formation of a center of excellence for marine plastic pollution studies in the Southeast Asian seas, under the program of Science and Technology Research Partnership for Sustainable Development (SATREPS) .
Marine plastic pollution is one of the serious global environmental issues that require urgent countermeasures. However, the current situation of marine plastics such as flow, amount and negative impact on the marine environment are not clearly understood. Therefore, to take efficient countermeasures, accumulation of scientific knowledge is required as a global issue to understand the current situation of marine plastics by establishing research and monitoring systems.
Given these circumstances, the project aims to establish an academic center of excellence (COE) in Thailand, and to submit recommendations for reducing marine plastics to Thailand’s governmental organizations based on the scientific evidence obtained from research conducted in the Gulf of Thailand and the Samae San area. Through these processes, the Project will establish a sustainable framework for monitoring and management of marine plastics in the Southeast Asian seas, which will contribute to specific measures for reduction of marine plastics. The project will also contribute to the achievement of SDGs Goals 11, 12 and 14.
 SATREPS is a joint research program that links Japan with universities and research agencies in developing countries to develop and apply new technology and acquire new scientific knowledge. These efforts are aimed to address global issues, including those related to the environment, energy, biological resources, disaster risk reduction and infectious diseases, and support independence and sustainable development in developing countries. SATREPS aims to advance solutions to challenges while improving the research level at universities and research agencies in developing countries and strengthening the overall capacity to work on such issues.
Details for the project are provided below.
Basic project information
Country: The Kingdom of Thailand
Project title: the Project for formation of a center of excellence for marine plastic pollution studies in the Southeast Asian seas
Planned implementation period: 60 months
Executing agency: Chulalongkorn University, Eastern Asia University, Walailak University, Burapha University, Prince of Songkhla University, Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE)
Collaborating agencies: Pollution Control Department (PCD) of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Kasetsart University, UNESCO/IOC WESTPAC, FAO-AFMA
Target regions: Samae San Area, Sattahip District, Chonburi Province and the Gulf of Thailand
Japanese cooperation agencies: Kyushu University, Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, Kumamoto University, Kagoshima University, Chuo University, Kyoto University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Civil Engineering Research Institute for Cold Region
Specific project activities:
(1) Establish monitoring procedures for marine plastics in beach and coastal waters
(2) Establish monitoring procedures for marine plastic quantity and impact on the marine environment
(3) Develop new monitoring procedures for plastic wastes on land
(4) Submit recommendations for reducing marine plastics based on scientific evidence to Thailand’s governmental organizations
(5) Enhance coordination among researchers and raise the awareness of local communities, public and policy makers regarding marine plastics