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Project Zacch presents Eco Kolek at the 7th International Marine Debris Conference at Busan, Korea

Project Zacch (or PZC) shines on the global stage of Busan, Korea, as it attends the 7th International Marine Debris Conference (7IMDC) happening on September 18-23, 2022. 7IMDC is the world’s longest-running international conference series dedicated to the issue of marine litter and pollution organized by the Korea Marine Environment Management Corporation (KMEMC), and co-hosted by Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and supported by the US Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML). Other present organizations and agencies include the World Bank Group, The Circulate Initiative, and Oceana, among others.

The abstract that the Team wrote, led by Shellemai Roa, Co-Founder/ Deputy Project Director, together with the City Government of Puerto Princesa’s Environment and Natural Resources Office (City ENRO), entitled, “Eco Kolek: Empowering informal waste collectors to become impact leaders in addressing plastic pollution” has been accepted for oral technical presentation in one of the 7IMDC’s technical sessions under Thematic 6.4: Solving plastic pollution in Asia by building international partnerships and cooperation.

John Gastanes, Founder/Project Director, presented Project Zacch’s journey and Eco Kolek’s narrative stories on September 20 to around 800 participants from over 50 countries who attended the event — highlighting and promoting the lives of informal waste collectors who are now empowered Eco Warriors. PZC believes they are crucial service providers and the first line of defense partners against ocean pollution as they recover and divert recyclables from reaching landfill and the oceans, which is also their source of income.

Project Zacch has also emphasized the importance of establishing solid collaborative partnerships both at the local and international levels to co-create solutions and opportunities to bridge societal gaps in solid waste management and address ocean plastics.

Project Zacch extends its heartfelt gratitude to all its partners and mentors, especially USAID Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) who also involved in the event, for continuously believing, supporting, guiding and pushing the Team the extra mile to help, empower and reach more Eco Warriors, and address ocean plastics.

Project Zacch continues to explore, gain insights from various business models shared during breakout sessions and panel discussions that can be applied for Eco Kolek and other community-based projects, and establishes networks with different international entities.

Photo credits: 7th International Marine Debris Conference and Set Oya

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