South Korea as Vietnam's model for not littering

By Tuan Minh   January 10, 2024 | 03:39 pm PT
South Korea as Vietnam's model for not littering
A street in Seoul, South Korea, October 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Dang Le
South Korea is a shining example of effective public waste management without the use of many trash bins.

Any public event that gathers a large number of people in Vietnam will end up with a mountain of trash.

On the other hand, South Korea does not use many public trash bins, yet it still manages to keep its public space clean and tidy.

So how can we manage public waste effectively?

Messy piles of trash are everywhere on Vietnamese streets and in public parks because people have gotten lazy and irresponsible about the trash they generate.

Some people think it’s only public trash collectors’ job to clean up.

It’s a very different picture in South Korea, where people strictly abide by waste management regulations to keep their environment clean.

The country has clear policies about waste sorting and recycling. It does not have many trash bins on the street, which prevents the habit of throwing unsorted trash randomly. People carry trash to their homes or workplaces where there are sorted trash bins.

South Koreans follow the Jongnyangje waste management system, which differentiates waste into categories of general waste, food waste, business waste, public purposes and construction debris. People who fail to follow the sorting rules will be fined up to 300,000 won (US$229).

There is also fixed time frame for dumping trash. Those who dump trash at the wrong place or at the wrong time can be fined up to VND1 million won.

Public waste management is challenged in Vietnam by the lack of public awareness. While waiting for the public to improve their awareness, authorities can issue serious regulations with penalties that force the public to follow. Let’s see if we can learn from South Korea and make a good change.

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