Each year, there are about 25 million tons of municipal solid waste, 70% of which is directly buried, and about 8% -12% is plastic waste and plastic bags, with an increasing data as time goes by.
According to the Institute of Sea and Island Research, plastic waste accounts for between 50% and 80% of marine litter. Currently, Vietnam is one of the countries with the fourth largest amount of waste discharged into the sea in the world, with a volume of about 0.28 to 0.73 million tons/year (equivalent to about 6% of the total plastic waste discharged into the ocean).
In the last few years, there have been inspiring actions from the Vietnamese government, businesses and organisations to tackle the alarming plastic waste problem of Vietnam.
Maybe this common scene will soon be of the past? (Source: the Internet)
According to Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, circular economy is becoming an inevitable trend to meet the requirements of sustainable development in the context of increasingly degraded and depleted resources, polluted environment, and climate change: “Circular economy is not only reuse of waste, consider waste as a resource, but also a connection between economic activities in a pre-determined way, forming a cycle in the economy. ” – Minister Tran Hong Ha said.
AEON Vietnam, one of the giant supermarket chains in Vietnam, is committed to making continuous efforts towards the goal of reducing 30% of the amount of biodegradable plastic bags in the system of AEON Vietnam’s department stores and supermarkets. AEON Vietnam is encouraging customers to use their personal bags when shopping, and customers will be refunded with money. AEON Vietnam will also gradually implement for each item to replace plastic cups and handles to products with environmentally friendly materials; and 20,000 environmental bags under the project “Reducing single-use plastic waste” have been donated to consumers when coming to buy goods at AEON’s supermarkets.
Besides, small businesses and individuals are also putting great effort into promoting sustainability. For example, 4P’s Vietnam has recently released its 2021 Sustainability Report, highlighting their economic, environmental and societal impacts of the brand. The Body Shop Vietnam also introduced their first Refill Station in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city as a part of the ambitious plan to have 800 Refill Station globally by the end of 2022. Other movements like the BYO Campaign and Zero waste market are also raising awareness among businesses and customers about the importance of minimising single-use disposables in daily life.
More and more plastic-free markets are introduced in cities across Vietnam (Source: the Internet)
With the aim Vietnam aims to reduce 75% of plastic waste in seas and oceans by 2030 and 100% guarantee that marine protected areas are free of plastic waste, there are a lot more for Vietnam to do in changing the current habits, though, with the start of plastic-free movements, and active cooperation between the government and public-private partners will accelerate the works towards building a healthier and more sustainable living environment.
By Tram Anh Pham
“Trâm Anh is a Hanoi-based sustainability promoter and writer. She is on the mission to create a sustainability movement for SMEs in Vietnam. She is the founder of Good Human, an environmental group with engaging contents and campaigns related to sustainability and circular economy. Get in touch with Trâm Anh at email@example.com for collaboration and partnership!