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How Asia can beat its plastics addiction and fight climate change

How Asia can beat its plastics addiction and fight climate change

-While coping with the coronavirus pandemic, single-use plastics have proliferated and recycling has ground to a halt

-To combat the problem, Southeast and South Asia need to adopt a circular economy framework in plastics, which would help cut noxious emissions

For many, 2020 was a year postponed. While we were focused on coping with the Covid-19 virus, we lost ground on other critical issues, including plastic pollution and climate change. The waste-management and recycling value chain in South and Southeast Asia has ground to a halt while the use of single-use virgin plastics has soared. The situation is untenable for the long run and the environmental impact is sobering.

As we inch closer to the promise of mass vaccination and kick off 2021 in the Year of the Ox, it is time to adjust our perspective: these crises present incredible prospects for economic recovery and growth. We now have the chance to take a step back and hit the reset button, revisit basic assumptions and assess whether our current approach can address the problem.

First, we need to invest more in local resilience, economies, and supply chains to foster sustainable economic growth and generate new jobs in the new normal. Job creation can no longer just be about generating more positions; instead, we should be creating pandemic-resistant jobs.

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