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Why have we not banned single-use plastic yet?

By Anh Pham   April 12, 2022 | 06:54 pm PT
Why have we not banned single-use plastic yet?
A man sorts through used plastic bottles at a junkyard in Hanoi, Vietnam, June 4, 2018. Photo by AFP/Nhac Nguyen
Plastic waste can now be found in every corner of this planet, even inside the human body. If that doesn't terrify you, what will?

There is a shop that sells sticky rice in front of a primary school in my hometown. Around 200 portions could be sold in a single morning.

The problem is everything is single-use plastic, from the container to the spoon to the plastic bag used to carry them.

So 200 plastic bags, spoons and containers go into the trash can every morning. And I am talking about a single breakfast stall at an ordinary school. Imagine how many stalls there are in an entire city or an entire country.

Plastic waste can now be found in every corner of this planet. Everyone can already see how damaging it is to the environment.

But do you know how plastic also found its way into the nooks and crannies of living beings? Scientists have discovered that a human body could be contaminated with five grams of microplastics every week. That is utterly terrifying. It is not helping that plastic is already so embedded in our lives that it is not easy to immediately ditch them.

But it is not impossible.

Several European countries have made plans to ban single-use plastic. In Vietnam, as long as we do not have good enough solutions to deal with plastic waste, we should also move forward with a similar ban.

Banning single-use plastic is certainly going to be disruptive, but nothing can disrupt humanity's capacity to adapt. We can still enjoy our sticky rice breakfasts using banana leaves, something we did for years before plastic came along. Who needs plastic straws when there are bamboo alternatives?

At the very least, we each can do our part simply by using less single-use plastic. We can use recyclables or opt for a fabric bag instead on a trip to the supermarket.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
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