Jakarta (ANTARA) - Financing- and infrastructure-related problems still impede efforts of the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to handle marine debris, Indonesian ad-interim Maritime Affairs and Investment Coordinating Minister Erick Thohir stated.

"The ASEAN member countries are still facing various obstacles in their efforts to handle waste problems, such as those related to the financing capacity and infrastructure. However, I believe that we are all currently making utmost efforts to find solutions to the problems," he remarked.

Minister Thohir made the statement via a video broadcast for the opening of the ASEAN Conference on Combating Plastic Pollution (ACCPP) in Jakarta on Tuesday.

In his speech, the minister drew attention to a rapid increase in the volume of waste polluting land and seas over the last few years.

Hence, Thohir called on countries of the ASEAN to further strengthen collaboration to deal with waste issues, including the one related to marine debris.

Regarding the ASEAN Regional Action Plan for Combating Marine Debris, he expressed optimism that the action plan would encourage ASEAN countries to bolster their cooperation in dealing with marine debris, including plastic waste.

Furthermore, he expressed belief that the ACCPP could serve as a momentum for Southeast Asian countries to exchange insights and experiences on tackling plastic waste that has been polluting the seas.

"This (ACCPP) is a good momentum for us to exchange insights, build a common view among ASEAN countries, and acknowledge the complexity of the handling of marine plastic pollution," he affirmed.

Thohir then stated that the Indonesian Government is aiming to reduce the amount of plastic waste in its seas by 70 percent by 2025, adding that the government is sanguine about achieving the ambitious target by investing all-out efforts and working together with various parties.

"We are aware that we still have plenty of things to do in order to achieve the ambitious target by the next two years. Therefore, we deem it crucial to solidify cooperation with various parties, including partner countries," Thohir pointed out.

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Translator: Maria C, Tegar Nurfitra
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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