Japan, Thailand to research ocean plastic waste

Scientists from universities in Japan and Thailand have set up a joint project to research the problem of marine pollution caused by plastic waste.

About 30 percent of the plastic debris in the world's oceans is believed to come from Southeast Asia.

On Sunday, the researchers visited an island off eastern Thailand that they will use as their base for the five-year project.

The members will use drones to analyze the amount of plastic and how it is released into the ocean. They will investigate the impact of micro-plastics on the environment, forecast future levels of contamination and compile an action plan. They will advise the Thai government on how to reduce plastic pollution.

Kyushu University Professor Atsuhiko Isobe heads the group of Japanese researchers. He says Japan is the world leader in this type of research, and he wants to develop the base while sharing the results with Thai scientists.

Isobe also says ocean pollution in Southeast Asia is the second worst in the world after China, and there is an urgent need for measures to tackle the problem in the region.