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About This Webinar

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the entire plastic value chain from production to consumption, and increased concerns over plastic pollution. Strengthened concerns over hygiene and safety mass-introduced disposable plastics such as masks, bottles of hand sanitizers, hand gloves into our daily lives. Personal protective equipment (PPE) use has increased. The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated online shopping overall and delivery of essential items like groceries and food, causing a hike in single-use plastic products (SUPPs) packaging from the e-commerce sector. The pandemic also caused disinformation on SUPPs being a safer option to reusables, which inflated the consumption of SUPs as well as caused policy setbacks in curbing SUP pollution. The pandemic also disrupted waste collection, segregation and recycling.

With a prominent panel of experts, this Webinar will share information on and discuss the:

- altered landscape of quantity and composition of plastics in our daily lives and in waste streams,
- changed sentiment over plastic during the pandemic and ways forward in balancing safety and sustainability through education, innovation, and regulation to unpause the interruption in plastics reuse and recycling during the pandemic, and
- delayed and derailed SUPP policies and call for attention and actions to halt unnecessary use of SUPs and to continue reducing plastic pollution in rivers.

The webinar will be held on Thursday, 28 October, in two hours to serve the Asia and Pacific regions:
1- Pacific: 16:00 – 17:00 hrs (Samoa time)
2- Asia: 15:00 – 16:00 hrs (Bangkok time)

  • Welcome & Introduction to the Webinar
  • Presentation of the findings of the literature review and highlights of the Technical Paper: “Use of disposable plastics and community infection of COVID-19”
  • Discussion panel
Language: English
Who can attend? Everyone
Featured Presenters
Webinar hosting presenter
Professor School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology
Dr. C. Visvanathan, is a Professor of the Environmental Engineering and Management Program, School of Environment, Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology. He has a Ph.D. (Chemical /Environmental Engineering) from Institute National Polytechnique, Toulouse, France. In the field of solid waste, his main research interests focus around waste recycling and reuse, landfill pre-treatment technologies, plus Plastic waste management in the context of Circular Economy. He has published more than 150 international journal papers. He has more than 30 years of experiences teaching environmental engineering and management related courses at graduate level at AIT. Prof. C. Visvanathan is one among the 1% of top scientists in a global list compiled by the prestigious Standford University in the year 2020.
Webinar hosting presenter
Consultant – Health, Environment and Climate Change
Mr. Thompson is a highly experienced international expert with more than 20-years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region. He was, for many years, the World Health Organization’s Regional Advisor for Environmental Health firstly in WHO’s South-East Asia Region and later in WHO’s Western Pacific Region – a role in which he provided national authorities with technical support and policy advice on a broad range of environment, health and climate change issues. His recent work, as a consultant to WHO and to UN Environment Programme, has focused mainly on chemical safety and waste management in the health sector, and environmental sustainability of health care facilities. Mr. Thompson is a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer, certified by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists, and is a member of the International Solid Waste Association’s Working Group on Health Care Waste.
Webinar hosting presenter
UNEP Programme Officer - Life Cycle Unit, Economy Division
Ms. Claudia Giacovelli joined UNEP Life Cycle initiative in Paris, in 2020. Before that she has worked at the UNEP International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka for 4 years, where she supported developing countries in implementing sustainable solutions to environmental and climate challenges, with focus on waste management. Her background is in development economics and social sciences. Before UNEP she served at UNIDO South Africa for over five years, to secure partnerships and mobilize funds for climate mitigating projects and fast-track the transition towards an energy efficient and low carbon economy.
Webinar hosting presenter
United Nations Environment Programme
Ms. Kakuko Yoshida is Senior Programme Officer of the United Nations Environment Programme, Asia and the Pacific Office, in Bangkok. She is Environment Programme Specialist with experience stretching over 25 years and across Africa, Asia Pacific, and Latin America and Caribbean. She has led programmes and projects on air pollution, chemicals and waste management, including mercury and ozone depleting substances, plastic pollution, and environment and health.

Kakuko has designed and facilitated over 150 multi-stakeholder consultations, planning exercises, and trainings over 40 countries and has co-authored and edited multiple publications on environmental assessment, environmental health, environmental policy and enforcement, and youth-led environmental movements. She holds BSc in Zoology/ Wildlife Conservation from Fort Valley State College in Georgia, USA, and MSc in Environmental Management from University of Stirling in Scotland, UK.
Webinar hosting presenter
Head, UNEP Pacific Office
Mr. Sefanaia joined UNEP in current post in June 2015. Worked in the Environment Sector in the Pacific Islands for over 30 years. Worked for the Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment programme (SPREP) for 10 years in two stints -1999-2006 as Marine Pollution Adviser and from 2010 to May 2015 as Director, Environmental Monitoring and Governance Division. Prior to that worked as Director of Conservation International’s Fiji Country Programme (4 years); Environmental Services Manager (Pacific islands) for Sinclair Knight Merz Engineering Consultants (3 years); Health Safety and Environment Manager for Shell Pacific Islands Limited (3 years) and a number of senior technical positions within the Fiji Government’s Environment and Agriculture Departments (6 years)
Hosted By
UNEP CounterMEASUREII Webinar Series webinar platform hosts COVID-19 and plastic pollution in rivers in Asia and the Pacific
UNEP's CMII Citizen Science Event and Webinar Series