On 16 May 2023, NSTDA executives led by Executive Vice President Dr. Uracha Ruktanonchai and MTEC Executive Director Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul participated in the launch of Mekong Plastics Innovation Alliance between Thailand and Australia. Hosted by Australian Embassy in Thailand, the event was attended by representatives from various agencies, including the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Thailand Environment Institute (TEI) and companies in the plastic industry.

Dr. Julathep Kajornchaiyakul said that plastic waste has become an urgent global problem. Countries around the world including Thailand are faced with challenges of plastic waste management. Science and technology represent a key to innovative solutions to effectively manage this problem. The Mekong Plastics Innovation Alliance between Thailand and Australia not only facilitates a scientific collaboration but also engages all sectors in the society to turn challenges into business opportunities and to drive the implementation to ensure the sustainability of the initiative. This partnership will serve as a platform for knowledge exchange and capacity building to bring innovative solutions into practice and NSTDA is keen to support this alliance and work with partners in Thailand and from overseas to achieve its objective.

Australian Ambassador to Thailand Dr. Angela Macdonald remarked that the alliance will bring together local knowledge, private sector resources, and scientific expertise to accelerate and scale-up innovative solutions to tackle plastic pollution in waterways and that CSIRO and NSTDA will partner with entrepreneurs to identify new approaches to reduce riverine and marine pollution, strengthen research collaborations, and build a network of expertise.

CSIRO Counsellor and Director Southeast Asia Ms. Amelia Fyfield said that the alliance in Thailand is part of a wider, holistic approach to tackling plastic waste in the Indo-Pacific region, aligning with CSIRO’s Ending Plastic Waste Mission targeting an 80% reduction in plastic waste entering the environment by 2030. Supporting innovators to translate science, technology and innovation into real world solutions is critical in solving this global issue and this initiative aims to train the regions’ next generation of emerging change-makers.

"We are particularly delighted to work in partnership, because the problem of plastic is much bigger than any one country. Only through a collective, united, and regional approach can we make real progress toward ending plastic waste,” Ms. Fyfield said.