Vietnam plastic waste among highest in world
VietNamNet Bridge - Two years ago, Emily Strady, a French researcher, visited Vietnam to conduct research on metal pollution in the river network. 


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Plastic bag is regularly seen in Vietnam



However, what first caught her eye and made her panic was not metal, but plastics.

“In France, you can hardly find a plastic bag in the environment. This is regularly seen in Vietnam,” she said.

Ping Kitnikone, Canadian Ambassador to Vietnam, at the signing ceremony of the Code of Conduct on Combating Plastic Pollution, in early June 2018: “By 2050, there will be more plastic waste in the ocean than fish. Sadly, the Asia Pacific region makes a significant contribution to the amount of plastic waste.”

Plastic waste accounts for 50-80 percent of ocean waste, and more than 80 percent of plastics waste originates from the mainland, while the rest is discharged directly in the sea.

A report released by Science journal in 2015 showed that Vietnam ranked fourth among five countries which have the biggest volume of plastic waste, contributing to the creation of 8 million tons of plastic waste in oceans each year.

When plastics go to the sea, they affect marine life as sea birds and fish may swallow the waste. Emily's team found plastic micro particles in water, fish and air in Vietnam.

Two years ago, Emily and her co-workers conducted a survey about plastic pollution in Vietnam’s living environment. They took waste samples along the Sai Gon River for 1.5 years. And after analyses, they found that the plastic pollution level in Vietnam was 1,000 times higher than in western countries.

The researchers pointed out that when plastics go to the sea, they affect marine life as sea birds and fish may swallow the waste. Emily's team found plastic micro particles in water, fish and air in Vietnam.

In HCM City, about 250,000 tons of plastic waste is generated every year, of which, 48,000 tons, or 19.2 percent, are buried at landfills, while the other 200,000 tons are either recycled or discharged directly into the environment, according to a report.

The report also pointed out that the plastics recycling technologies used in large cities of Vietnam have become ineffective, costly and polluting. The activities of recycling plastic waste cannot be organized on a large scale. 

The recycling has been mostly implemented by small enterprises.

Hoang Minh Hong, director of ChangeVN, commented that many Vietnamese do not feel compelled to stop using plastic. 

A representative of WWF also said they found it difficult to persuade hotels in Phu Quoc to participate in a project on plastic waste. 

The hotels said they could not persuade guests to reduce the use of plastic bags when they go shopping.


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Thanh Lich

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