Newly launched Plastic Atlas Asia edition provides an Asia-focused overview of the plastic waste crisis

Press Release

A series of succinct articles and infographics providing an overview of the key issues behind Asia’s plastic pollution crisis.

Plastic Atlas Asia Edition cover

Hong Kong – The Heinrich Böll Foundation, the Break Free From Plastic movement and the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies published the Asia English edition of the Plastic Atlas on April 22, 2021. The Asia edition of the Plastic Atlas highlights the large and rapidly growing role of Asian economies as plastic producers, consumers, contributors to the plastic refuse deluge, and dumping ground for the world’s plastic waste. The publication also focuses on particular challenges facing the region, along with potential solutions.

A launch event for a photo exhibition “Journey to the Waste” is being held on April 15, 2021 – May 11, 2021 at FabCafe HK (G/F., 10 New Street, Sheung Wan). The opening hours are Monday to Friday HKT 8:30 – 17:30, Saturday to Sunday 09:00 – 18:00. The exhibit displays winning entries from our recent photo contest, and is organised to raise awareness of plastic pollution in Asia ahead of our new Plastic Atlas publication.

Currently, over half of the plastic produced globally originated from Asia. The region has also become a major destination of plastic waste trade, where South and Southeast Asia emerge to become a hot spot. The Plastic Atlas Asia edition highlights Asia’s growing role and impact on plastic production, consumption, and disposal since World War II.

The publication also explains that recycling is not the solution to plastic crisis, an idea that have been widely promoted by governments and corporations. With overconsumption exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, the atlas reflects on the surge of single-use plastics and people’s abuse of plastic materials.

There are already communities across Asia adopting zero waste practices as a way to reduce and minimise plastic waste produced. The atlas looks at the potential of bottom-up efforts in resolving the plastic crisis. The upscaling requires further efforts from national governments and other stakeholders.

The Plastic Atlas Asia edition contains 45 detailed infographics covering a broad range of topics regarding the plastic pollution crisis looking along the entire value chain of plastic. It is a unique contribution to the cause, as these will help people grasp the impacts with data-rich infographics focusing on the region.

Words from Partners

Von Hernandez, Global Coordinator, Break free from plastic, said, “we have to look at the root causes what’s really driving the production of so much disposable throwaway single use plastics, that are ending up in places where there’s no infrastructure. It puts the blame on Asian citizens from these countries, as if our people, our citizens do not have this discipline to throw their waste in the proper receptacle or separate the waste into recyclables.”

Dr. Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage, Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET), Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), said, “there is a responsibility between the citizens and communities, how they will change their behaviours from this mass consumption to more sustainable lifestyle. Business also needs to take actions. It needs some financial systems like extended producer responsibility or polluter pay principles to make this financial mechanisms available for handling the plastic waste recycling and management downstream.”

Linda Ding, writer & co-founder of INOW Kamikatsu, said, “there are so many times when you really just look at packaging and you think “I literally use this for one second to open and throw away, but all of the water, all the resources, all of the manpower and money that went into making this material was for that one second of use…” For what? For the convenience of that one second! Is that actually worth it?”



Download the full Plastic Atlas Asia Edition: (will be available from April 22)