Wednesday July 19, 2023


The marine biodiversity hotspot known as the Coral Triangle is home to more than 76% of the world’s known coral species and more than 3,000 species of fish. It sustains the livelihoods of more than 100 million people living along the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

It’s also home to a lot of plastic.

Much of the waste clogging the waters of Coral Triangle countries is the result of poor waste management at the local and national levels. But a recent study published in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering shows that plastic also comes from much farther afield. It found that microplastics in the Mekong River in mainland Southeast Asia are spreading to the densely populated coasts of the archipelagic countries of the Philippines and Indonesia.

As the region hosts some of the richest fauna and flora on the planet, experts say these findings show that cooperation between Southeast Asian nations is crucial to reduce the harm done to marine life and the communities that depend on aquatic resources.

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