Academic Collaboration

The OPTOCE project, a part of the Norwegian Development Programme to Combat Marine Litter and Microplastics, is now launching an Academic Collaboration in our partner countries.

In June 2019, the Bangkok Declaration on Marine Littering was adopted with following objectives, amongst others:

  • Strengthen actions at the national level as well as through collaborative actions among countries in the region and partners to prevent and significantly reduce marine debris, particularly from land-based activities, including environmentally sound management.
  • Enhance the multi-stakeholder coordination and cooperation to combat marine debris, including implementing joint actions and partnerships for addressing such a challenge.
  • Promote private sector engagement and investment in preventing and reducing marine debris, including partnerships between public and private sector through various mechanisms and incentives.
  • Strengthen research capacity and application of scientific knowledge to combat marine debris, in particular, to support science-based policy and decision making.

The objective of the “Academic Collaboration” is to build competence on treatment options for Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste (NRPW) and provide better knowledge about the NRPW situation in the country and the possibility to involve local energy intensive industry to solve waste problems.

The OPTOCE-project will generally contribute to support all the objectives of the Bangkok Declaration, while this Academic collaboration aims to build capacity, to strengthen research capacity and to support science-based policy and decision making.

The objective is to carry out parallel MSc-thesis research in India, China, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam during the academic year 2020/2021 and potentially 2021/2022.

Current research topics

Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes in dumpsites/landfills

Some of the thesis topics focuses on how much Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes are accumulated in landfills and dumpsites in Asian countries today (quantity/quality), as well as an examination of how this plastic is released to nearby waterways, and eventually, how this can be mitigated by for example landfill mining in order to avoid a continuous source of microplastics to the sea in the future.

Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes from Landfill Mining

There is an urgent need for research to better understand how landfill mining can be expanded and stimulated – what are the current constraints and how can we produce quality fuel with low moisture and high energy out of the Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes from the dumpsites – and what do we do with “left-over” and rejects?  And finally, is there any drawbacks or negative impacts of landfill mining? These questions will be examined by a master student from AIT in Bangkok.

Non-Recyclable Plastic Waste from Cities and municipalities

There is an urgent need for research to better understand how much of the plastic in the MSW is non-recyclable and how this fraction can be segregated, sorted, pre-treated and utilised as a co-fuel in energy intensive industries in Asia. Some of the research topics will examine this further, looking into how the informal waste collectors segregate between “recyclable” and “non-recyclable” plastic waste, and what happens to the fractions deemed non-recyclable.

Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes from paper production

There is an urgent need for research to better understand how Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes from paper industry can be pre-treated, dried, prepared and utilised as alternative fuel. A study in China will examine how plastic waste, such as laminate, pieces of tape and stickers from paper recycling can be used as fuel in cement industry. This will be done in coordination with the pilot demonstration in China.

Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes in Rivers

Another study in China will examine how Non-Recyclable Plastic Wastes in rivers can be removed, collected, dried, pre-treated and prepared and utilised as an alternative fuel in energy intensive industries. This will be done in coordination with the pilot demonstration in China.

Collaborating Partners

The following Academic Institutions /Universities are part of the Academic Collaboration:

  • Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand.
  • Centre for Sustainable Development & Resource Efficiency Management, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.
  • The Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (under MEE), Beijing, China.
  • Key Lab of Advanced Materials for Green Growth, Faculty of Chemistry, Vietnam National University, Hanoi.
  • Yangon Technological University, Yangon, Myanmar.

If you are interested in joining the Academic Collaboration as an observer or as a collaborating partner, please contact Programme Manager Dr Kåre Helge Karstensen,