Discours lors de la réception à la Résidence de France en l’honneur du projet « A Plastic Ocean » - le 21 novembre 2018
Dr. Wijarn Simachaya, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment ;
Dear Simon, Alexandre and Bob from Plastic Odyssey crew ;
Dr. Emilie Strady, Researcher at the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) ;
Members of the Bangkok Eco-capitals Forum ;
On behalf of the French Embassy in Thailand, I would like to warmly welcome to you to this reception organized in honor of « A Plastic Ocean » project.
As we all know, plastic pollution is a pressing global issue with devastating ecological consequences, especially for the ocean. If we do not react, by 2050, the weight of plastic released into the oceans could be equivalent to the total weight of the marine wildlife.
One of the main challenges is the microplastics pollution. They are most of the time invisible, but harmful to the environment, by accelerating the disappearance of coral reefs for example, and also to human being as they enter the food chain. This is why it is so important to find solutions to stop plastic waste from being further dumped into the ocean, before they disintegrate and become impossible to collect.
Unfortunately, Southeast-Asia is known as one of the major contributing regions to this pollution. The Thai government is aware of the problem and has decided to implement concrete actions to fight plastic pollution, such as banning single-use plastics in national parks, cigarettes on some beaches or the plastic caps of water bottles.
Globally, there is, fortunately, a growing international awareness of the plastic contamination issue and of the need for further action. In the framework of the European Union, the French government has recently committed to replacing single use plastics objects (straw, cotton bud, cup, plate) with sustainable products by 2020 and to recycling 100% of the plastic used in France by 2025.
I would like to thank Mahidol University International College and Chulalongkorn University for jointly organizing the event “A Plastic Ocean”. Bringing together representatives from both our countries for sharing their experiences and knowledge is a great opportunity to improve not only the scientific and academic understanding of the plastic contamination, but also our ability to gather all key players on this issue. Because we cannot fight plastic pollution without raising the awareness of the population and finding new solutions and new technologies.
This is why I would like to congratulate the French Plastic Odyssey team for the development of their recycling technologies and their willingness to find solutions towards a waste-free society. I would also like to acknowledge all the researches in this field to find alternatives to plastics, such as bioplastics, and to help companies develop more ecofriendly products.
I take this opportunity today to highlight the involvement of the French Embassy in the “Green Embassy” project. Launched in 2015, the "Green Embassy" program is a global and progressive approach to reduce the ecological footprint of French diplomatic missions abroad.
We are proud to be recognized by our French Ministry of Foreign Affairs as one of the five best green embassies in the world. Our action plan is based on two priorities : reducing energy consumption, in particular for air conditioning and combating plastic pollution.
To reach the latter goal, we have encouraged embassy staff to reduce the use of plastic bottles and plastic bags. And last September we signed a pledge on combatting plastic pollution during the Clean Up the World day with our main partners, especially the Mandarin Oriental, TEE Thailand and all the embassies members of the Bangkok Eco-Capitals Forum.
Finally, I want to stress that If you did not have the opportunity to attend the first film-debate in MUIC yesterday, you can take part in the second one tomorrow afternoon at Chulalongkorn University. I wish you a very productive, meaningful and enjoyable debate there. I also hope that in a few years’time you will be able welcome the Plastic Odyssey crew when they’ll make a stopover in Thailand with their ship.
And now, I would like to invite our special guests to present their innovative project in more details.