‘Urban Heroes’ campaign launches comic book for zero waste in ASEAN

Youth-led initiative concludes initial phase, inspiring young people to reduce food and plastic waste

Cover - ‘Urban Heroes’ campaign launches comic book for zero waste in ASEAN

Fuelled by a desire to tackle food and plastic waste problems in the region, 10 youths from 7 ASEAN countries joined forces to design a campaign aimed at inspiring more youth champions for zero waste.

‘Urban Heroes’, an ASEAN youth-led, EU-funded campaign on waste reduction in South-East Asia, was assembled following the ‘EU-ASEAN Youth Exchange on Sustainable Urban Development’ in early 2023.

In August, they attended the ASEAN Mayors Forum in Jakarta, where they lobbied for youth inclusion in policy and decision-making. Within a month, they produced a comprehensive booklet that takes a deep dive into South-East Asia’s waste issues and provides tips on tackling the problems through a circular economy.

The resource, designed as a comic book targeting high school students, also showcases youth-led initiatives across the region to highlight youth’s roles in fostering positive change.

With the conclusion of the campaign’s launching phase, the group will next promote the booklet to local schools and educators around the region, while setting their sights on expanding the campaign into an entity and recruiting more like-minded peers to scale and replicate its actions.

‘It’s obvious to all of us that youth is of major importance,’ said Mr Lukas Gajdos, Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the EU Delegation to ASEAN during the 8th EU-ASEAN Youth Talk Show that featured representatives from ‘Urban Heroes’. ‘People like to sometimes patronise those who are younger by saying, “You are the future”, but we very much believe you are the present. You already have a lot of agency at your disposal. You can make things happen.’

The campaign supports the Youth Action Plan of the EU External Action for 2022-2027, which has identified three pillars of action to shape partnership with young people: engage, empower and connect.

Stay up to date on the EU’s continued youth engagement in ASEAN on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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