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Southeast Asian nations vow to combat plastic debris in oceans

Bangkok, Southeast Asian nations vowed on Saturday to fight against plastic pollution in the ocean, as their leaders adopted a joint declaration during a summit in Bangkok.

The Bangkok Declaration on Combating Marine Debris in ASEAN Region was adopted by leaders of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which includes four of the world's top polluters.

ASEAN members Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand, along with worst offender China, throw the most plastic waste into oceans, according to a 2015 report co-authored by environmental campaigner Ocean Conservancy.

"All countries...value and emphasize environmental protection and support Thailand in including the agenda on safeguarding of the environment and combating marine debris, which matches a global agenda," deputy government spokesman Werachon Sukondhapatipak told reporters on Saturday.

The declaration was commended by environmentalists as a good first step for the region, though doubts remained that implementation will be a challenge because the group has a code of non-interference that would leave necessary policymaking in the hands of individual member countries.

The 10 ASEAN countries vow to "strengthen actions at the national level as well as through collaborative actions...to prevent and significantly reduce marine debris," according to the official document seen by Reuters.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

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