Vietnam loses $3 bln a year not recycling plastic: UNDP

By Gia Chinh   July 15, 2022 | 04:25 pm PT
Vietnam loses $3 bln a year not recycling plastic: UNDP
A man stands on a coracle surrounded by plastic and other waste in Ly Son Island, central Vietnam, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen
Vietnam "wastes" around $3 billion each year by not recycling plastic waste, a senior United Nations Development Program official said Friday at a conference on solid waste management.

Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in the country, said Vietnam releases around 19,000 tons of plastic waste a day. In some sea regions, for every three parts of fish netted by fishing activities, there is one part of plastic waste that comes with them, she added.

To help Vietnam utilize solid waste as a potential resource, the Global Environment Facility and the Norwegian government will provide $2 million to launch a project supporting implementation of the national action plan on marine plastic litter in the context of a green post Covid-19 recovery project.

The project is expected to facilitate a more dynamic and inclusive economy while providing opportunities for long-term sustainable growth and generating new jobs.

It aims to collect up to 220 tons of plastic waste each year in supermarkets and create collection points in large neighborhoods, netting in 20-100 tons of recycled plastic waste a day.

Implemented over the next five years, the project will first be trialed in central Vietnam's Binh Dinh Province for around $1.2 million. The UNDP will help create material recovery facilities able to process 2-4 tons of plastic waste a day.

The project would also pilot a waste management model in the fisheries sector, in which fishermen will be encouraged to bring back their waste to shore after every journey. Such efforts are expected to prevent around five tons of plastic from entering the sea per month and the goal is to prevent around 1,000 tons of waste from entering the sea per year, Wiesen said.

Nguyen Phi Long, chairman of Binh Dinh, said the growth of tourism and general improvements in living standards have led to an increase in plastic waste.

For example, Quy Nhon, the province's capital town, produces around 300 tons of waste a day, 70 tons of which are plastic waste. Long said he hoped the plastic recycling project would not only protect the environment, but also promote tourism in the region.

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