Economic Sector

Last updated: Tuesday, March 26, 2019


Reducing Detrimental Effects of Plastic Waste in Vietnam

Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Vietnam gives priority to solid waste management. The plastic waste collection and dumpsite management system has reduced plastic pollution in the country. Vietnam is continuing this effort with its legal system on environmental protection, management policies, coastal clean-up campaigns and environmental protection education and communication campaigns for residents and tourists.

Plastics are one of the most revolutionary inventions of the past century and play an important role in the economy and daily lives. However, the current approach to producing, using, managing and disposing of plastics poses a significant threat to the environment, to livelihoods and potentially to human health. It also represents a significant loss of value, resources and energy.

Recently, the eighth meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam (12th term) adopted the Vietnam Sustainable Marine Economy Development Strategy to 2030, with a vision to 2045. This strategy, by 2030, aims to “prevent, control and significantly reduce marine environmental pollution and take the lead in ​​mitigating oceanic waste in the region. In coastal provinces and cities, 100 per cent of hazardous wastes and domestic solid waste will be collected and treated up to environmental standards; 100 per cent of coastal economic and industrial zones and coastal areas are planned and built in a sustainable, ecological and intelligent manner to adapt to climate change, sea level rise and centralised wastewater treatment system to meet environmental standards.”

In May 2018, Vietnam approved the revised National Strategy for Integrated Management of Solid Waste to 2025, with a vision to 2050. This revised strategy aims, by 2025, to collect, transport and treat 100 per cent of hazardous solid waste in manufacturing, business and service activities in medical units and cottage industry villages, and 85 per cent of hazardous solid waste generated by households and individuals; replace non-biodegradable plastic bags used in commercial centres and supermarkets with environmentally friendly plastic bags; collect and treat 80 per cent of domestic solid waste generated in rural population quarters.

Vietnam also supports accelerating international cooperation in sharing knowledge and information on cross-border plastic pollution; strengthening existing management capacities and international frameworks to improve policymaking mechanisms; enhancing research capacity in oceanic plastic and microplastic waste; raise public awareness in plastic pollution; and promoting infrastructure investment, including assistance to developing countries to boost their regulatory capacity and legal framework for environmental protection and waste management.

In April 2018, the Canadian Embassy in Hanoi initiated a policy advocacy campaign in various areas to combat plastic pollution. 58 international organisations, embassies and consulates in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City signed the Code of Conduct on Plastic Waste Pollution. Contracting parties undertook to reduce the use of disposable plastic products in the workplace.

Canada and other international partners engaged in constructive dialogues with Vietnamese leaders to discuss policy options to have long-term positive impacts on plastic pollution in Vietnam.

Code of Conduct signing parties launched their #CountdownPlastic online communication campaign on their social network channels to call for community actions to reduce the use of disposable plastic products in their life and in the workplace.

At the G7 Summit in Canada in May, Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted Vietnam's commitments to work with Canada and other partners for the oceans without plastic waste all over the world.
In September 2018, at the G7 Environment Ministerial Meeting hosted by Canada, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Le Cong Thanh took part in discussions on plastics and marine waste, sustainable oceans and fisheries, and resilient coastal communities.

At the first International Consultative Workshop on Development of Vietnam National Action Plan for Oceanic Waste Management jointly launched by the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Canadian Embassy in Vietnam, policymakers, researchers, business leaders, international experts, environmental activists and community organisations, including women and youth organisations, took part in discussions on the plastic waste situation in Vietnam, recycling industry development, regulatory and institutional framework, database, scientific research for policymaking, women’s roles in plastic waste management, and potential financial, technological and communications solutions.

Mr Tran Hong Ha, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said, marine plastic pollution has been an alarming matter of the world. It not only spoils the quality of marine environment and ecosystem but also directly impacts economic activities and coastal communities, potentially threatening food and energy security.

“Plastic pollution is destroying oceans, lakes, rivers and streams in Vietnam. Each of us needs to be responsible for combating plastic pollution. Canada is working with Vietnam and supporting it to compose the National Action Plan for Ocean Waste Management,” said Ms Deborah Paul, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam.

As the Chair of G7, Canada initiated the development of Ocean Plastics Charter, a global commitment to acting on all types of plastics throughout their lifecycle, with the goal of reducing plastic waste and oceanic plastic waste. So far, 14 countries, the European Union and 20 companies have ratified the Charter.

Quynh Anh

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