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From: May/June 2022 Print Edition of Magazine

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This panel is supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and the Pictet Group Foundation

Panel Timeline

(1 hour 17 Minutes)

Q 1 : Is it fair to frame the plastics problem as an “Asia problem” and should we seek coordinated, continent-wide solutions, or is it better to look at the problem from the viewpoint of what each country is doing to fight plastic pollution? Where should “ownership” and “responsibility” to solve the problem be best placed? 10:42

Q 2 : Has the focus on “Asia’s worst polluting rivers” been helpful or not in the fight to reduce plastic pollution in Asia?  By trying to clean up the rivers, are countries not addressing the root cause of the sources of the plastic: on land? 19:33

Q 3 : How effective have been the use of regulatory bans, restrictions, laws been, in general, and can you share an example of what’s worked and in what country and why?  How do the elements of regulations, infrastructure and human behavior come together to prevent or minimize the problems? 26:46

Q 4 : Is Asia doing enough to clean up plastic waste from entering its waterways? Are we losing out or gaining on this problem? 38.32

Q 5 : In 10 years, if it’s business as usual, will Asia still have a plastics problem? What has to change? 50:14

Q 6 : If you have to pick one milestone for Asia to focus on that, if achieved, would result in a “short-term home run” and possibly a long-term game-changer, what would you select and what would be the result if everyone focused on it? 59:24

Introductions by Panelists (in their own words)

Doug Woodring 3:50

Sekhar DC 4:30

Nikhilesh Paliath 5:25

Youna Lyons 6:04

Coleen Salamat 8:20

The Panelists

Rob Steir

Commitments Accelerator for Plastic Pollution

(CAPP) Co-Founder

Based in Florida, United States, Rob is a co-founder of CAPP. He is also a consultant for Ocean Recovery Alliance where he was the main author of a January 2020 United Nations-funded report Crafting High-Impact Voluntary Commitments to Prevent and Reduce Marine Litter.” Rob is also the co-founder of Frontline Waste, a waste-to-energy company, focused on developing countries and islands, featuring a 20-100 tons/day slow-pyrolysis solution.

Speaker: About Competition
Justin Robertson

City University of Hong Kong Associate Professor, Department of Asian and International Studies

Justin is active in the community as the convenor of the CityU Sustainability Lecture Series, the CityU Sustainability Debate Series and the Asian Sustainability Case Study Challenge. He also leads the university’s Green Roofs Over Walls (GROW) project, an urban farm with a social mission. A teaching award winner, his pedagogical approach is centered on encouraging students to conduct primary research, directing a lively classroom featuring interactive software and problem-solving exercises and connecting students with experts in the field and having students share their findings with practitioners. He is a scholar of the global political economy with two areas of particular current interest: sustainable finance and investment migration.

Doug Woodring

Ocean Recovery Alliance Founder

CAPP Co-Founder

Based in Hong Kong, Doug is the Founder of Ocean Recovery Alliance, a non-profit organisation focused on bringing innovation solutions, technology, collaborations and policy together to impact positive improvements for the health of the ocean.  He was the winner of the prestigious 2018 Prince Albert Prize for Innovative Philanthropy for his work with the ocean.

Doug is also a co-founder of CAPP!

Sekhar DC


Executive Director

Sekhar is an ex-merchant navy captain and now an innovator with multiple successful technology development to his credit. His company, AlphaMERS, has a successful river clean up solutions, working prototype of ocean wave to electricity converter, and well a few more far reaching impactful innovations. Its first installation in Cooum river arrested 22000 Tons of trash including 2200 Tons of plastics in one year, i.e., 2018 alone. He believes human ingenuity is a per capita resource and our strength lies in creating out of the box solutions.  Its installations are in eight cities now and doing many more city rivers this year. Few of the technologies developed by him are River Clean up Barriers, Harnessing Ocean Wave Energy, Waterjet propelled boats, Maritime perimeter security systems and Disaster Management Solutions.

Nikhilesh Paliath

Break Free from Plastic Youth Ambassador

Nikhilesh is a Founding Member & Senior Mentor, Green Army International, a Youth Volunteer Network in Trivandrum, India. Green Army focuses on imparting concepts of Zero Waste, Climate Action and other Sustainable practices in an Urban landscape to School children. He was one of two of the heroes featured in the Emmy-winning documentary film, The Story of Plastic.

Youna Lyons

Advisory Committee on the Protection of the Sea; Chair of the Board

Youna is a senior research fellow with the Centre for International Law (NUS) focusing on marine environmental governance in Southeast Asia. Her research areas include the protection of sensitive marine areas in Southeast Asia taking into account the underlying legal and institutional governance framework and the interplay of international law and science, the use of satellite imagery to inform marine environmental management (through habitat mapping and maritime boundary disputes on remote features for example), offshore oil and gas in Southeast Asia, as well as the sustainable use of marine resources in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Passionate about the ocean, Youna has been trained in marine ecology, physical oceanography and ocean policy at the College of Ocean and Fisheries of the University of Washington (where she also obtained a Masters in Marine Affairs). Youna’s dual expertise in law and marine sciences allows her to integrate these fields for marine policy making purposes.

Coleen Salamat

EcoWaste Coalition

Plastic Solutions Campaigner

Coleen is an environmental advocate with a background on oceans and waste management issues. She was previously campaigner of Oceana Philippines and is also a member of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines and consultant of Asian Research Institute for Environmental


An inspired article by the moderator after the panel’s discussion occurred

A New Way to Look at Solving the Asia Plastic

Waste Crisis: Keep It Simple Local

What if it were mandated to clean up every river, creek and waterway in each local area in Asia? The results might very well be spectacular and game-changing

By Rob Steir, CAPP Co-Founder

View Article Here


Phone #:+852-3442-6301

or [email protected] (preferred)


Ocean Recovery Alliance

20th Floor, Central Tower,

28 Queen’s Road Central,

Hong Kong



Pictet Group Foundation

Collaborating Partner:

The Heinrich Böll Foundation