Norway, UNDP help Vietnam tackle plastic pollution

By Nguyen Quy   June 8, 2020 | 10:30 pm PT
Norway, UNDP help Vietnam tackle plastic pollution
Plastic waste along the coast of Tuy Phong District, Binh Thuan Province in central Vietnam in 2018. Photo by Nguyen Viet Hung.
Norway is working with the UNDP on two projects to improve waste management and reduce plastic pollution in Vietnam.

The first project aims to develop integrated local models of domestic waste and plastic management in five localities – Quang Ninh in the north, Da Nang, Binh Dinh and Binh Thuan in the center and Binh Duong in the south, the UNDP said in a Facebook post Monday.

The project will collaborate with local mass organizations such as the Farmer’s Union and Women’s Union to boost waste segregation, collection, recycling, and composting, create markets for secondary materials, introduce the circular economy approach and foster investment in green technologies.

In addition, the UNDP will work closely with local authorities to formulate and implement waste management regulations.

The second project will involve an innovation challenge to end plastic pollution problems in the coastal areas of Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, considered among the world’s worst ocean polluters.

The call for applications proposing innovative solutions will open to all ASEAN countries on June 25. In 2020, the project’s first phase, the challenge will take place at Vietnam's beloved Ha Long Bay and Thailand's popular Samui Island. The winners will receive technical and financial support from UNDP to further scale up their solutions, which will be then implemented in the project sites with strong support from local authorities.

Both projects will be funded to the tune of $2.5 million by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

The projects are timely interventions in the context of the United Nations Environment Program confirming Vietnam as the world's fourth largest marine plastic polluter after China, Indonesia and the Philippines. The country dumps an average of 300,000-700,000 tons of plastic waste into the ocean per year, accounting for 6 percent of the world's marine plastics.

Southeast Asia as a whole is a major contributor to land-based plastic waste leaking into the world’s oceans, with more than half of it coming from four nations - Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

Many countries in the region struggle with poor waste sorting and disposal systems, and their growth in population and explosive demand for consumer products mean more single-use plastic ends up in landfill or leaks into the environment.

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 global growth strategy consulting firm based in Paris.

The government has been stepping up efforts against the plastic waste epidemic, with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc calling for action to achieve zero disposable plastic use in urban shops, markets and supermarkets by 2021 and nationwide by 2025.

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