Vietnam’s solid waste up 46 pct in decade: report

By Phan Anh   November 18, 2020 | 04:57 pm PT
Vietnam’s solid waste up 46 pct in decade: report
Trash are piled atop each other on Tran Huu Duc Street in Hanoi, as a result of a protest by people living near a landfill to demand relocation and compensation, October 26, 2020. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The amount of domestic solid waste in Vietnam has increased by 46 percent from 2010 to 2019, according to a recent national report on solid waste management.

The report, issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, noted the amount of domestic solid waste produced nationally in 2019 was around 64,658 tons a day, an increase of 46 percent from the 44,400 tons a day in 2010.

The majority of such waste was produced in urban areas, which release about 35,624 tons a day, while rural areas only release about 28,394 tons a day, the report noted.

Domestic solid waste production is significantly higher in localities with high urbanization and industrialization rates, like Hanoi at 6,500 tons a day and HCMC at 9,400 tons a day, which tops all cities and provinces. When it comes to the amount of domestic solid waste released per capita, Hanoi records 0.81 kg a day, while HCMC records a daily 1.05 kg.

Hanoi and HCMC alone produced around 12,000 tons of domestic solid waste a day in 2019, accounting for around 33.6 percent of all domestic solid waste in urban areas, the report revealed.

Meanwhile, the domestic solid waste collection rate was recorded at around 92 percent nationally in 2019, meaning around 8 percent of all domestic solid waste produced was not collected and thus released into the environment. Major cities like Hanoi, HCMC and Da Nang have the highest collection rate, some up to 100 percent, according to the report.

Around 71 percent of collected domestic solid waste is buried, 16 percent is turned into compost, while 13 percent is burned. While burial remains the dominant method of waste processing, there has been a shift to incineration in recent years, the report declared.

Among 1,322 domestic solid waste processing facilities distributed nationally, around 904 are burial sites. But only around 20 percent of these are considered hygienic, it was added.

Several challenges remain in the management of domestic solid waste, including a lack of waste sorting facilities and insufficient focus on daily waste reduction. Waste recycling efforts are still limited, while the dominant method of waste burial takes up space and may hurt the surrounding environment.

Suggestions for improvements include the amendment and supplementation of waste management policies, increased surveillance in waste management and research and development into new technologies for waste processing, the report concluded.

As solid waste production increases over time, major landfills in cities like HCMC, Da Nang and Hanoi have become overloaded and affect people's lives.

Hanoi and HCMC spend VND1.2-1.5 trillion ($52-65 million) a year each, or around 3.5 percent of their budget, on collecting and treating garbage.

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