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Apr 24, 2019 / 11:38

Each Vietnamese discharges 41kg of plastic waste per year

Vietnam is one of the five countries that discharge the most plastic waste, about 1.8 million tons per year.

Vietnam is struggling with a plastic waste headache when each Vietnamese discharges an average of 41kg of plastic waste in 2015, a jump from 3.8kg per head per year in 1990, and the figure is predicted to rise to 45kg by 2020, local media reported, citing the Vietnam Plastics Association.
Illustrative photo. Source: internet
Illustrative photo. Source: internet
Vietnam is one of the five countries that discharge the most plastic waste, about 1.8 million tons per year.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s statistics show that in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City only, about 80 tons of plastic and plastic bags are discharged to the environment each day. In Hanoi alone, plastic accounts for 7-8% of 4,000-5,000 tons of daily waste.

Notably, the amount of plastic waste and plastic bags nationwide accounts for about 8-12% of domestic solid waste. If an average of 10% of that plastic waste is not recycled, approximately 2.5 million tons of plastic waste and plastic bags would burden the environment per year.

Besides, the import of plastic scrap into Vietnam has surged exponentially in recent years, from 18,548 tons in 2016 to 90,839 tons in 2017 and 175,000 tons in the first nine months of 2018.

However, just less than 10% of the plastic waste in the country is recycled and the rest is discharged into the environment, causing numerous serious consequences and a disaster that scientists call "white pollution".

The life cycle of plastic products spans from 350 years to 1,000 years. Meanwhile, single-use plastic products like bags and bottles are worsening the pollution. Scientists have found that microplastics destroy human and living cells.

In Vietnam, there has been increasing awareness of limiting plastic use, for example, single-use bags at supermarkets and replacing plastic straws at cafés with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. But it seems that much more needs to be done at a larger scale to get rid of this deep-rooted habit in the country.