Vietnam spends too little on handling waste: WB

By Gia Chinh   April 13, 2023 | 03:00 am PT
Vietnam spends too little on handling waste: WB
A sanitation worker pushes a cart full of domestic waste in Hanoi, November 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Vietnam's spending on domestic waste treatment accounts for 0.23% of its GDP compared to the global rate of 0.5%, the World Bank said Wednesday at a seminar in Hanoi.

The country currently spends VND14.3 trillion (US$610 million) each year to deal with domestic waste, as officially announced at a seminar held by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the UN Development Program (UNDP) in Hanoi on Wednesday.

Of the sum, 75% comes from the state budget and the rest is trash collection fees paid to trash collecting units (either private or state-owned) by local households every month.

Speaking at the event, Ashraf EL–Arini, an environmental specialist of the World Bank, said the expenditures for handling domestic waste in Vietnam is much lower than recommended by the bank.

The sum is only enough for collecting and transporting garbage and it would need more for treatment, he said. He said Vietnam should spend at least VND27.7 trillion to treat solid waste properly. In order to be able to recycle the waste, the cost must be VND49 trillion. He also suggested Vietnam seek private investment for treating garbage.

The World Bank said Vietnam discards an estimated 64,000 tons of domestic solid waste each day, including 35,000 in urban areas.

The country generates 3.7 million tons of plastic waste per year, and only 11% is collected for recycling, making Vietnam rank fourth in the world in the volume of plastic waste last year.

A UNDP representative said last July at a conference in Hanoi that Vietnam "wastes" around $3 billion each year by not recycling plastic waste.

According to data released last year by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, plastic waste accounts for 7% of the solid waste discharged every day in Vietnam, or nearly 2,500 tons.

The ministry said in 2019 that some 25.5 million tons of waste are generated annually and five treatment methods are used -- burning to generate electricity, turning it into micro-organic fertilizers, burial, gasification, and incineration.

More than 75% is buried, but only 30% of that volume is properly buried.

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