Story | 23 Feb, 2021

MARPLASTICCs video series: Moken Guardians of the Sea: Safeguarding the Ocean from Plastics, a Circular Economy initiative by the Jan & Oscar Foundation in Thailand

Following last week’s introduction of the three Circular Economy videos from Eastern and Southern Africa, this week focuses on South East Asia with new videos showcasing the work done by small-scale Circular Economy initiatives there. Today’s video presents a project by the Jan & Oscar Foundation, supporting the Mokens in the development of a community enterprise around waste management in Thailand. The initiative is part of the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (MARPLASTICCs) project managed by IUCN and supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency. 

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Photo: © IUCN


The video presents the Moken Guardians of the Sea initiative as part of the capacity pillar of the MARPLASTICCs project. It highlights the work of the Jan & Oscar foundation in engaging marginalised communities into the workforce via linking traditional practices to alternative livelihoods to improve their livelihood options. 

The Project Manager at Jan & Oscar Foundation introduces the initiative, from the building of a school for Moken children to the establishment of a community enterprise around waste management. Giving a voice to workers and students, the video relates the importance of the initiative in providing jobs, but also in increasing knowledge and understanding in the value of plastic. So far 37 waste collectors have been involved in the projects and almost 80,000 kg of plastic has been recycled through the facility since January 2020. Lastly, the video showcases the functioning of the Waste Bank in the Khao Niwet School in Ranong. 

Implemented by the Jan & Oscar Foundation, the Moken Guardians of the Sea initiative [hyperlink:] is one of the five circular economy initiatives IUCN supports as part of its MARPLASTICCs project working to reduce the amount of plastic leaking into the marine environment. The Jan and Oscar Foundation is building the capacity of Moken fishermen to recycle or upcycle plastic waste collected from rivers and canals flowing into the Andaman Sea; set up a community recycling enterprise in Ranong; and promote waste separation in public schools and Moken villages. Working on improving circularity through incentivising the retrieval of plastics to be upscaled, the initiative has contributed to over 130 tonnes of waste being collected in the last 12 months. 


In 2017, with generous support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), IUCN launched the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative (MARPLASTICCs), an initiative in Africa and Asia that works in five countries: Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Thailand, and Viet Nam. The project consists of four pillars: capacity building through circular economy initiatives, production of knowledge products – including the national guidance and reports on plastic pollution hotspotting, economic and regulatory policy analysis in each country, and connecting with the private sector with a business component to help businesses identify plastic leakage in their value chains. As part of the Capacity pillar, MARPLASTICCs has been supporting existing, small-scale circular economy initiatives that aim to reduce the amount of plastic leaking into the marine environment. MARPLASTICCs has provided a financial grant of up to USD 50,000, in each target country.  

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