‘Sorting waste at source’ plan fails to take off
VietNamNet Bridge - More than 10 years ago, the plan on sorting waste at the source kicked off in urban areas in a campaign to mitigate pollution. 


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At 5 pm every day, Nguyen Hoa in Ba Dinh district in Hanoi takes a large plastic bag containing waste to a dustbin in an apartment block. All kinds of waste, from broken light bulbs to leftover food, are put into the plastic bag, with no classification.

Hoa said that she and other residents in the area do not sort waste.

“There is only one dustbin in the apartment block and all kinds of waste are put into it. Even if we sorted it, the cleaners would put it all together,” she said.

A Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources’ (MONRE) report found that the total volume of solid waste in Vietnam is about 28.5 million tons a year, including 19 million tons from domestic waste. In Hanoi, the figure is 7,000 tons a day, while it is 8,000 tons in HCM City. The volume of solid waste increased by 12 percent per annum in 2011-2015.

Nguyen Ngoc, a waste collector, confirmed that residents don’t sort waste. Ngoc and other collectors sometimes find plastic bottles and steel to sell as scrap iron, but most waste is not sorted.

Ngoc said in the past, the 3R (reduce, reuse recycle) model was implemented in Hanoi and people were asked to sort waste at them source. People sorted waste but gave up after realizing that waste collectors were putting all kinds of waste together.

A pilot project on sorting domestic waste at source funded by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) kicked off some years ago, but it has fallen into oblivion.

A representative of an environmental service company said it is not economical to have two kinds of dust-carts to carry organic and inorganic waste.

A Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources’ (MONRE) report found that the total volume of solid waste in Vietnam is about 28.5 million tons a year, including 19 million tons from domestic waste. In Hanoi, the figure is 7,000 tons a day, while it is 8,000 tons in HCM City. The volume of solid waste increased by 12 percent per annum in 2011-2015.


Experts repeatedly mention the importance of the work of sorting waste at source, as 50-70 percent of waste contains compounds which can be recycled to create new sources of energy. 

Hoang Duong Tung from the General Directorate of Environment said environmental service companies must sort waste, especially hazardous waste, from domestic waste. Batteries, light bulbs and injection needles are thrown into domestic waste.

Each day, HCM City discharges 8,300 tons of waste, but only 3,000 tons are recycled.


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