Central province to cut plastic waste by 30 percent by 2025

By Sen    June 21, 2020 | 07:21 pm PT
Central province to cut plastic waste by 30 percent by 2025
People collect trash that had washed up after storm Matmo made landfall in Binh Dinh Province, next to Phu Yen, November 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
Phu Yen has become Vietnam’s second locality to partner with the World Wild Fund for Nature for reducing non-biodegradable waste.

The south-central province's participation in the Urban Plastic Reduction Program was made official on Thursday.

A draft of an action plan to reduce non-biodegradable waste by 30 percent by 2025, which entails "smart solutions" tailored for each locality in the province has been drawn up, the WWF said in a statement.

Nguyen Chi Hien, Vice Chairman of the province People's Committee, said the plan has five main components, including communication campaigns directed at locals and education programs for children to raise awareness of the problem and trial programs to collect, sort and transport plastic waste to designated disposal sites.

A monitoring body for plastic pollution, a management system for plastic waste and increasing research capacity would also be focuses of the plan, he said.

Ta Dinh Thi, general director of the General Department of Sea and Islands, said pollution cannot be resolved without strong policies and laws.

"Vietnam has a relatively adequate legal framework for waste management in general. But supervision, inspection and control are difficult and ineffective."

His department would coordinate with other agencies to support Phu Yen’s plan to combat the plastic issue.

The province, like many coastal regions in Vietnam, faces a dire situation due to its poor management of plastic waste.

Socio-economic development has increased its demand for goods, raw materials and energy, and it has seen solid waste increase annually by 10-16 percent, according to a study by the Center for Northern Environmental Monitoring in 2018.

A WWF survey conducted in the province's capital Tuy Hoa last year found plastic waste accounting for almost 20 percent of domestic solid waste, 60 percent being plastic bags, cups and straws. Notably, 80 percent of the plastic items were of low-quality, not recyclable and difficult to decompose.

The dominance of plastic in domestic waste in Tuy Hoa was rising, the survey found.

Van Ngoc Thinh, country director of WWF-Vietnam, said: "We hope there will be more localities participating in the Urban Plastic Reduction Program in the near future to create a global movement to encourage the entire society to deal with plastic pollution and reduce plastic emissions into the environment."

Last year Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island, became the first locality in the country and the third in the region after Patong city in Thailand and Donsol city in the Philippines to join the program.

WWF helps mobilize funds and provides technical support to help the program participants get rid of plastic, according to Ta Tuan Anh, communications manager at WWF-Vietnam.

It is currently in talks with six other cities and provinces including Da Nang and protected marine areas Con Dao and Cu Lao Cham islands.

The program targets signing up 25 urban areas around the world and helping them turn plastic-free by 2025, and increasing the number to 1,000 by 2030.

Each Vietnamese person consumed only 3.8 kg of plastic in 1990, but 28 years later this had risen to 41.3 kg, according to a report released last year by Ipsos Business Consulting, a French growth strategy consulting firm.

Phu Yen is not the only locality drowning in waste in Vietnam.

Urban areas, home to a third of Vietnam’s 95 million population, discard 38,000 tons of domestic waste every day, or more than half of the country's total.

The sheer volume has begun to overwhelm landfills in the country, with cities running out of space for trash and people living in the vicinity of landfills complaining bitterly about the odor and health impacts.

By 2050 there would be more plastic than fish by weight in the seas, according to a 2016 report by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

Another 2016 study by them along with McKinsey Company found that every minute one garbage truck of plastic is dumped into our ocean.

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