Giving Compass' Take:

• Naina Subberwal Batra explains that despite Southeast Asia's contributions to plastic waste and pollution, some countries are making strides to create a circular economy within the plastics value chain. 

• How will building a circular and restorative economy for plastics help reduce pollution in Southeast Asia? How can donors become drivers for this transition? 

• Read about the fight against ocean plastic pollution.

We are drowning in plastics. Unless we change our behavior, there will be more plastic by weight than fish in the ocean by 2050. Solving this crisis requires us to do more than just banning plastic straws. We need a paradigm shift. We must adopt deep structural changes to our plastic production and consumption patterns in order to move away from the extractive linear model of ‘take, make, use and dispose’ towards a ‘closed-loop’ circular economy – an economy that is intentionally restorative.

Over the past year, governments in Southeast Asia have been in the hot seat over plastic pollution. Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam are some of the world’s top plastic polluters. Together with China, they account for up to 60 percent of the plastic waste leaking into our oceans. In our joint report with ECCA Family Trust – released last week – we identify the main challenges as a lack of infrastructure and financing, poor public awareness, poor execution of recycling policies, illegal dumping, as well as unplanned industrial development.

The good news is that governments at both the national and city levels are stepping up their efforts to reduce plastic pollution.

Consumer-goods companies have been struggling to rethink their plastic packaging but an investment fund in Singapore may drive change. Last week, investment management firm Circulate Capital closed its debut Circulate Capital Ocean Fund with a total capital commitment of US$106 million from PepsiCo, Danone, Unilever, and The Coca-Cola Company, among others.

I believe there are sizeable and valuable opportunities to create a circular economy within the plastics value chain in Southeast Asia. But at present efforts are too fragmented and uncoordinated to have impact scale.

Read the full article about addressing the plastic waste issue by Naina Subberwal Batra at AVPN.