The World Bank (WB) has just released two reports on: “Analysis of plastic waste pollution in Vietnam” and “Towards a national roadmap on single-use plastics in Vietnam”. The expert group has proposed that to tackle plastic waste pollution, it must start from reducing plastic use, imposing fees, and finally banning the use of single-use plastic.

An estimated 3.1 million tons of plastic waste is dumped on land in Vietnam each year, and at least 10% of this ends up in the ocean. According to the National Plastics Action Partnership Program in Vietnam, the amount of plastic leaking into rivers and seas could double by 2030 if current waste collection, recycling and treatment processes are not Improved.

Disposable plastic items are very popular in Vietnam 

To find out the level of pollution in Vietnam, a World Bank study was conducted between July 2020 and April 2021 about types of plastic waste leaking into rivers and oceans, and which products on the market may be suitable alternatives. 

Research including field surveys in riparian and coastal areas shows that plastic waste accounts for the majority of waste collected. Single-use plastic products (SUPs) account for 62% of the total plastic waste (in quantity).

The survey also found that the ten most common types of plastic account for more than 81% of all plastic waste, most of which is SUP plastic. Plastic bags and debris from bags, styrofoam food containers and straws are among the top five plastics most commonly found in the environment (38%). 

According to Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam, economic growth, rapid urbanization as well as lifestyle changes in Vietnam have led to a plastic pollution crisis such as plastic pollution. 

Currently. This study shows that single-use plastics cause the majority of plastic pollution in Vietnam and addressing this situation will make a big difference. International experience shows that the benefits of phasing out single-use plastics will outweigh the costs. However, an effective transition requires a phased approach to compensate producers, while also providing incentives for consumers and businesses to change behaviour.

New World Bank report

The report “Towards a National Roadmap for Single-use Plastics in Vietnam” has made policy recommendations over the next 5 years (2022–2026), aiming to improve Vietnam’s readiness in the future and the implementation of the ban on SUP specified in Decree 08/2022. Accordingly, Vietnam can start with restrictions on the use of single-use plastic in restaurants and accommodation facilities. The report also proposes charging fees for non-biodegradable plastic bags and takeaway coffee cups. The roadmap aims to impose a ban on the circulation of plastic straws, non-biodegradable plastic bags and food containers by 2026.

This roadmap is based on the principle that Vietnam needs to have a gradual transition to achieve (or possibly even implement) a ban on SUPs by 2031 as stipulated in Decree 08/2022. The proposed policy options and implementation process are designed to gradually develop administrative capacity and increase funding for monitoring and enforcement so that authorities are fully prepared for the implementation of the upcoming ban.

According to Decree 08/2022 guiding the implementation of some Articles of the Law on Environmental Protection 2020, starting from January 1, 2026, Vietnam will stop the production and import of non-biodegradable plastic bags of different sizes. size smaller than 50cm x 50cm and thickness less than 50 µm for domestic consumption.

The decree also requires a gradual reduction in the production and import of other SUP products, until all are completely banned by 2031. In addition, the Provincial People’s Committees have the duty to restrict the distribution and use of SUP products in shopping malls, supermarkets, hotels, and tourist areas, starting in 2025.

Source: Natural Resources and Environment Newspaper

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