Meet our #breakfreefromplastic Media Research Fellows

In 2018, Malaysia, a major plastics manufacturer, developed a roadmap to zero single-use plastics by 2030 and in 2019, the Thai Retailers Association enacted a voluntary ban on plastic bags across over 24,000 retail outlets. And in Vietnam, the goal to end single-use plastics by 2025 was announced. 

Before 2020, Southeast Asia appeared to be on the cusp of a regulatory revolution in its plastic usage. 

Taking these massive changes into account, earlier this year, we embarked on a search for young media researchers to engage in training and research with us, to learn how the media landscape for the coverage and reporting on plastic usage and policies has changed in the Southeast Asia region, in the past 2 years. 

Together with our partner – Break Free from Plastic – we’re excited to announce our awesome fellows and share with you their takes on media coverage of plastics in their region. 


break free from plastics

Yvonne Tan, Malaysia

Yvonne Tan is a freelance writer pursuing her MA in Southeast Asian Studies. She has a soft spot for social movements and loves writing about them.

“It is a vital part of solving the climate crisis in Southeast Asia. With China now banning the import of plastics, and Southeast Asia as the new dumping ground, there is a need to for the region to understand the effects of plastic usage and plastic policies”

Read Yvonne’s previous work: The people have spoken : (essays on the making of a new Malaysia)

Ariel Adimahavira, Indonesia

Ariel holds a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from Universitas Gadjah Mada. He’s passionate about climate change and circular economy topics and ever-curious about how circular economy implementation can help mitigate climate change.

“Informative and frequent media coverage could trigger a massive behavior change in the society towards wiser plastic usage, push the governments to issue innovative and sound policy in plastic production and management, while also pressuring producers to incorporate a circular economy in their plastic products.” 

Kade Thossaphonpaisan, Thailand

Kade has been working in the field of human rights and environmental rights in the Mekong sub-region since graduating with a bachelor’s degree in 2014. She is passionate about data journalism and using digital technologies to improve human rights work and to increase civic participation in environmental and social issues.

“News reports with various angles of plastic usage and plastic policies will help raise discussions and awareness of people in my society, and lead to better policies or innovative solutions.”

Read Kade’s previous work: Reflections on my media analysis of biomass reporting in Thailand

Đỗ Trang, Vietnam

Having a background in psychology, law and journalism, Trang is always looking for opportunities to improve critical thinking and all other linguistic skills. Trang has worked at Vietnam Law Newspaper –  a press agency under the Ministry of Justice, since 2017.

“The world is waking up to a crisis of ocean plastic. Increasing public awareness of the issue has played an important role in the implementation of numerous waste prevention policies across the countries, in order to fight against plastic pollution and climate change.”

Read Trang’s previous work: Vietnam ‘not ready’ for looming solar waste issue amid recent boom.

Patricia Valerio, Philippines – Lead Researcher

Patricia will be leading this team of young researchers. She is a researcher, writer, and editor who has worked in international development, ESG, and media.

Patricia got a full Erasmus scholarship to do a master’s in public policy at the Central European University and the Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals and is a Climate Tracker alumni fellow, having taken part in our media coverage looking into how a green transition has been covered in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. 

Read Patricia’s media analysis: Pandemic Stories in the Philippines.

We’re excited to work with each fellow and look forward to sharing their stories with you! 

Dizzanne Billy
Dizzanne is the Caribbean Regional Director at Climate Tracker, a freelance writer, and an all-around storyteller. With a special place in her heart for the beach, cats, and Coldplay, she's experienced in journalism, communications, marketing, and finding the perfect song to suit any situation.