Oct 16, 2021 / 13:46

"Plastic-19 Lockdown" Challenge launched

The initiative launched by UNESCO and GreenHub aims at inspiring Vietnamese people to reduce the dumping of plastic waste.

With the objective of alerting people to the harmfulness of plastic waste, the UNESCO in Vietnam and the Centre for Supporting Green Development (GreenHub) are launching a communication campaign on plastic waste named “Plastic-19 Lockdown" Challenge via social media from 16 October to 15 November 2021.

The poster of the Plastic-19 Lockdown" Challenge. Photo courtesy of UNESCO Vietnam

Everyone regardless of nationality who are aged between 18 to 35 in Vietnam is invited to join the challenge at https://plastic19lockdownchallenge.wbc.vn/

According to the statistic, there are about eight million metric tons of plastic discarded into the ocean annually, the equivalent of one garbage truck of waste every minute, with a significant amount originating in Asia, including Vietnam.

At this rate, by 2050, the oceans would contain more plastic than fish. Whilst the plastic pollution issue is not new, there remains a significant gap between knowledge and behavior. Therefore, UNESCO and GreenHub are launching this campaign to change social behavior on plastic waste and raise awareness about the 5Rs of waste management: rethink - refuse - reuse - reduce - recycle.

The “Plastic-19 Lockdown” Challenge will have 19 challenges on plastic reduction spanning over the course of 19 days. The duration of the campaign was deliberately selected to give participants ample time to develop new habits of reducing plastic waste.

The number 19 also draws parallels to the Covid-19 pandemic, highlighting how plastic waste is a similarly pertinent challenge that must be addressed. As it targets youth aged between 18 to 35 across Vietnam the designed challenges are diverse, trendy, and fun.

Through the campaign, young people can freely express their creative ideas and collectively inspire a range of positive actions on plastic waste including the 5Rs which are rethink – refuse – reuse – reduce – recycle. The earliest participants to complete the series of challenges will be awarded a limited-edition medal by UNESCO and GreenHub.

These boats are made from 10,000 plastic bottles by Artist Vu Xuan Dong at “Phuc Tan Public Art” Project, Phuc Tan Ward, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi. Photo: Lai Tan/ The Hanoi Times

The Vietnamese government is also making efforts to reduce plastic waste. Recently, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and the Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) have signed a cooperation program on environmental protection for the period of 2019-2025.

The program aims at promoting environmental protection, teaching students about reduction, collection, classification, reuse, recycling, and treatment of solid waste as well as curbing the use of single-use plastic products and plastic bags.

According to Phan Tuan Hung, director of the Legal Department under MoNRE, plastic waste is currently being managed like other types of waste.

“There is no specific regulation on plastic waste management yet, except some tax regulations that restrain the use of plastic bags,” he said.

“There must be a limit on the amount of plastic or thickness of plastic bags and it is necessary to work out some kinds of taxes and environmental protection fees for plastic products,” he added.

The “Plastic-19 Lockdown” Challenge is launched within the framework of UNESCO’s Youth and Innovation for Ocean Initiatives in Vietnam, financially supported by The Coca Cola Foundation (TCCF) and GreenHub’s Local Solutions for Plastic Pollution project sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID), in collaboration with key partners including, April Advertising Vietnam, i17 Event Solutions, Adam Muzic, and Trinh Cong Son Foundation.