The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has devoted its efforts to a competition aiming to end plastic pollution across Southeast Asia.
|UNDP Vietnam Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen. Photo: UNDP Vietnam|
Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC), an ASEAN-wide competition seeking solutions to join global efforts against plastic pollution, has attracted the participation of a number of contestants in ASEAN member states.
Spearheaded by UNDP with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), EPPIC seeks ways to fight ocean plastic by supporting innovators whose ideas prevent plastic waste and pollution at the local level.
As stated by UNDP Vietnam Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen, plastic is destroying marine life and polluting the earth at an unprecedented rate, tackling plastic pollution will require multi-stakeholder collaboration and engagement.
Stig Ingemar Traavik, director for Norad’s Department for Climate, Energy and Environment, said different stakeholders need to come together, collaborate, and innovate to stop plastic pollution from reaching oceans, adding that efforts to reduce plastic pollution by contestants to create healthier environments and good jobs in a circular economy were very impressed.
|UNDP Vietnam Resident Representative Caitlin Wiesen and winners|
EPPIC provides an exciting opportunity for innovators to receive seed funding and incubation training to help them maximize their chances of success.
On January 26, four winners were announced at a ceremony held in Hanoi. They were Galaxy Biotech, Green Joy, and Refill Day of Vietnam and CIRAC from Thailand.
“Today, the EPPIC winners have pitched outstanding, innovative ideas to tackle plastic pollution and we are keen to working with them and our partners from the Governments of Viet Nam and Thailand to implement the solutions in Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui,” said Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam.
Winners have been awarded US$18,000 each to apply solutions in Ha Long Bay (Vietnam) and Koh Samui (Thailand) and enroll for a 9-month acceleration journey delivered by UNDP Impact Aim, opening up opportunities to connect with investing firms and other key development players in ASEAN.
Launched in June 2020, EPPIC Phase I in Vietnam and Thailand recorded ideas to combat plastic waste in coastal cities of Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui in 2020.
Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage Site located in Quang Ninh province, is one of Vietnam’s most popular tourist attractions, receiving 14 million visitors in 2019.
The initiatives will help address solid waste, especially plastic pollution discharged by tourists and fish-farming that the locality is facing with in an effort to keep Ha Long Bay home to biodiversity and good environment.
A group of 14 finalists include AYA Cup, EcoTech, Galaxy Biotech, Green Joy, GreenPoints, MGreen, Refill Day, and VIFEP (Vietnam); CIRAC, Green Island Foundation, and TerraCycle Thai Foundation (Thailand); P+usTreat, and OceanKita BBN (Indonesia); and Seven Clean Seas (Singapore).
According to UNDP, 159 teams coming from six ASEAN countries namely Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia applied to the challenge with a broad range of solutions to tackle plastic pollution including both upstream and downstream innovations.
EPPIC Challenge will be extended to Indonesia and the Philippines and welcome all innovators from ASEAN to apply.