Saigon university says no to plastic straws, bottled water

By Nguyen Quy   April 21, 2019 | 09:14 am GMT+7
Saigon university says no to plastic straws, bottled water
The HCMC Open University has decided that it will stop using plastic straws and bottled water from next month. Photo by Shutterstock/KhangVinh

The HCMC Open University has decided that it will stop using plastic straws and bottled water from next month.

Nguyen Minh Ha, vice principal of the school, said plastic water bottles, plastic straws and other single-use items such as cups, plates, spoons made from plastic would be removed from all school meetings and activities at the university from May 5.  

Starting May 15, the school would stop serving plastic bottled drinking water to lecturers. Instead, they will have to bring personal drink bottles with them or use recyclable bottles provided by the university.  

The move follows a survey by the administration board of the university that found the school dumps nearly 125,000 plastic bottles into the environment on average every year.

The university is the first school in Ho Chi Minh City to announce the decision to halt the use of plastic bottles and plastic straws as an environmentally friendly measure.

Around 170 kilometers (105 miles) from Saigon, the Ly Tu Trong High School for the Gifted in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho has been doing much the same for more than a year now, with all students and teachers saying no to plastic cups, styrofoam boxes and plastic bags at school.

Instead, they have increased the use of recyclable items and environmentally-friendly products.   

These actions come in the wake of reports that a ‘shocking’ amount of plastic waste is generated by Vietnamese people.

A woman sorts out recyclable plastic soft drink bottles at Xa Cau Village, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham

A woman sorts out recyclable plastic soft drink bottles at Xa Cau Village, outside Hanoi, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham

According to peer-reviewed U.S. journal Science, eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the Earth's oceans and seas each year -- 250 kilograms (550 pounds) every second.

Vietnam has been ranked the fourth biggest polluter of oceans in the world by U.S. based non-profit environmental organization Ocean Conservancy.

It estimates that the country dumps 280,000 – 780,000 tons of plastic waste into the environment each year. Only 40 to 60 percent of waste ends up in landfills, while the rest is discharged into canals and rivers that flow into the sea.

 
 
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