Overwhelmed Con Dao Islands to ship trash to mainland

By Minh Nga   February 24, 2019 | 05:30 am PT
Overwhelmed Con Dao Islands to ship trash to mainland
A worker load trashes from Con Dao's only landfill onto a truck. Photo by Ba Ria-Vung Tau newspaper
Con Dao Islands, unable to manage the huge amounts of garbage it produces, will pack it and ship it to the mainland for disposal.

As of March last year, Con Dao, a 16-island archipelago off Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province, had 70,000 tons of garbage stuck at its sole landfill. Its largest island Con Son, of 52 square kilometers (20 square miles), is the only one inhabited.

Over the past two decades, domestic waste on the island has been collected at a landfill that measures 3,800 square meters (4,544 square yards).

The landfill, which handles garbage with only one incinerator, is now gone overloaded and has only 300 square meters left for storing trash.

With its pristine natural beauty with forested hills, sandy beaches and extensive coral reefs, Con Son has been attracting increasing numbers of visitors, resulting in the generation of more daily waste, not to mention the trash that is dumped into its seas.

On an average, the island generates 15 tons of trash a day, while at full capacity, the incinerator can only deal with five tons.

As a result, trash, mostly plastic bags and bottles, has been piling up at the landfill.

At a meeting on Thursday, authorities of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province accepted the Con Dao District's suggestion to have trash taken to the mainland for treatment.

As planned, the trash will be pressed into packages weighing 450 kilo each and transported to the mainland on ships.

It is estimated that the project of pressing, packaging and transporting 70,000 tons of trash will cost the province more than VND35 billion ($1.5 million).

According to the province, the project is necessary because wastewater from the landfill is seeping into water sources on the island, threatening a nearby beach and posing increasing risk of diseases.

Con Dao is 180 kilometers away from the shores of southern Ba Ria- Vung Tau Province, and is accessible by air and water.

Last year, Con Dao welcomed over 286,000 tourists, up 17.31 percent from 2017.

Vietnam is the fourth-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution globally, according to a 2015 study by the University of Georgia.

The country discharges around 18,000 tons of plastic waste every day, according to the Da Nang Center for Consultancy on Sustainable Development in central Vietnam.

Cham and Be Islands in the region are two places in country banning the use of plastic. Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s biggest island, is also working with the World Wild Fund Vietnam to map out a plan to be plastic free by 2020.

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