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Vietnam aims to end use of disposable plastics by 2025

Updated at Sunday, 09 Jun 2019, 21:05
The Hanoitimes - It’s unclear how long it will take for that plastic to completely decompose into its constituent molecules. Estimates range from 450 years to never.
Vietnam has targeted to end the use of single-use plastics by 2025 as part of efforts to cope with this thorny issue globally. 
 
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the event on June 9. Photo: VGP
Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the event on June 9. Photo: VGP
To make the goal attainable, the country targets to sell no single-use plastics at supermarket by 2021, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the national anti-plastic waste campaign held in Hanoi on June 9. 
 
UNDP Country Director in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen and UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra join the event. Photo: Tien Phong
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen join the event. Photo: Tien Phong
The movement marked the attendance of representatives of the United Nations and embassies in Hanoi including the UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam Caitlin Wiesen, and Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Løchen. 
 
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra. Photo: Baotainguyenmoitruong
UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Kamal Malhotra addresses the event. Photo: Baotainguyenmoitruong
At the event, PM Phuc required the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to regulate the discharge of plastic waste, the relocation of plastic recycling plants to industrial parks; limit then end the import and production of plastic bags; encourage the research and application of new technologies for better replacement materials.  
 
Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung. Photo: Kinh Te Do Thi/Van Trong
Chairman of Hanoi People's Committee Nguyen Duc Chung. Photo: Kinh Te Do Thi/Van Trong
The PM has sent a lettet to all agencies and communities to call for actions against plastic waste among people. 

In addition, an alliance of businesses against plastic waste has been set up to make the national campaign substantive. 

 
Vegetable products were wrapped in banana leaves (instead of contained in plastic bags) at Lotte Mart in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Wset
Vegetables are wrapped in banana leaves (instead of contained in plastic bags) at Lotte Mart in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Wset
Accordingly, a number of localities, companies, and communities have raised initiatives and conducted activities to cope with plastic waste with a chain from limited use, classification, reuse, and recycling.

The government of Vietnam has pledged to keep developing together with protecting environment, considering environmental protection one of three pillars in pursuing sustainable growth. 

Related agencies have supplemented regulations on the production, import, management, and use of plastic.

Hanoi in particular plans to sell no plastic bags in all trade plazas and supermarkets by the end of 2020, Chairman of the city People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung said at the Sunday event.  

Vietnam’s firm moves 

In another move, the government has intensified a plan to phase out scrap plastic imports by 2025.

To support to plan, the government will stop issuing new licenses for the import of waste and crack down on illegal shipments, the government said on its website in March.

The move aims to prevent waste from entering Vietnam to keep the country from becoming a dumping site.

In 2018, Vietnam imported 9.2 million tons of scrap, up 14% on year, including 82,500 tones from the US, making it the sixth largest importer of US plastic throughout the year, according to Resource Recycling.

The surge in waste imports has caused congestion at several Vietnamese ports.

Thorny issue globally 

Plastic waste discharged each year, including 13 million tons of plastic marine debris, is damaging the environment and human health, threatening the sustainable growth of each country, foreign representatives said at the event in Hanoi on June 9. 

World production of plastic has increased exponentially, from 2.3 million tons in 1950, it grew to 162 million in 1993 and to 448 million by 2015, according to the Nationalgeographic.

It’s unclear how long it will take for that plastic to completely decompose into its constituent molecules. Estimates range from 450 years to never. 

Meanwhile, ocean plastic is estimated to kill millions of marine animals every year. Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by it.

China is the largest producer of plastic and the volume produced in this country accounts for more than a quarter of the global total, much of it is exported to the world.

Yiwu International Trade City, in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang, is the world’s largest wholesale market for small commodities, and a plastic feast for the eyes. More than 70,000 booths, housed in a series of connected buildings, sell everything from inflatable pools to cooking utensils to artificial flowers.

The growth of plastic production has far outstripped the ability of waste management to keep up. That’s why the oceans are under assault. In recent years the surge in production has been driven largely by the expanded use of disposable plastic packaging in the growing economies of Asia

Only 18% of plastic is recycled globally, up from nearly zero in 1980. Plastic bottles are one of the most widely recycled products. But other items, such as drinking straws, are harder to recycle and often discarded.

In 2018, the UN launched the Global Campaign against Plastic Pollution to call for the worldwide solutions that aim to mitigate pollution. At the World Economic Forum in 2019, top leaders of many countries and executives of multinational corporations made commitments on minimizing the use of plastic products. 
Linh Pham
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