Marine Plastic Abatement – AIT joins UNESCO’s Plastic Initiative

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The core group of the Plastic Initiative consist now of UNESCO, SEAMEO, UN ESCAP & AIT. Other UN agencies and major stakeholders are welcome to join, many of them have already been informed and will be invited soon.

The Government of Japan has approved a financial contribution of 3 million fifty thousand (US) dollars to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand to support the launch of the first postgraduate program on marine plastic litter in the region. The grant bolsters Japan’s ‘MARINE Initiative’ towards the realization of the ‘Osaka Blue Ocean Vision’ shared at the G20 Osaka Summit in 2019, aimed at reducing additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050. Under the support, AIT will launch a one-year Master of Science degree program called Marine Plastic Abatement (MPA) in August 2020. The program will train a new generation of Asian environmental leaders to combat the ocean plastic litter problem through advanced technologies and sound management practices. The grant is one of the largest in AIT’s recent history and includes provision for 50 full and 50 partial academic scholarships earmarked for students from developing countries. It will also enable AIT to deliver a portfolio of certificate programs, training courses, intensive summer/winter school programs, advanced laboratory and other activities in marine plastic abatement.

The MPA program will position AIT as an academic hub linking leading universities and international organizations in Japan with partner universities in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. Graduate students will link in-class subject matter to research outcomes and marine plastic abatement practices. Emphasis will be placed on learning from Japan’s best practices on marine plastic abatement, with key contributions from sustainable development practitioners and industry. Graduates and trained professionals from the MPA program, together with experts from Japan and other countries, will form the planned ‘Global Marine Plastic Alliance’ – a regional network think-tank providing technical expertise, policy guidance and professional consultation on the ocean plastic issue.

Interested readers on the AIT postgraduate program on marine plastic litter in the region, which is technically supported by UNESCO, should contact AIT via Professor Thammarat Koottatep at thamarat@ait.asia.

Image: B. Böer

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