For Southeast Asian countries, the meaning of regional connectivity and integration goes beyond their vision of development and economic progress. Interconnectedness also applies when discussing disasters and environmental degradation.
One example is transboundary haze, the top-of-mind term for the raging forest fires on Sumatra or Kalimantan islands in Indonesia that generate choking, hazardous haze affecting Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.
But the growing mountains of waste, particularly plastic, that the region’s 630 million people generate are becoming a bigger shared challenge by the day. In particular, the plastic that enters our rivers and oceans is a man-made disaster that all 10 Asean states have an urgent need to solve.
ISMIRA LUTFIA TISNADIBRATA