Joining hands to fight plastic pollution

Monday, 2019-09-16 17:38:36
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Soldiers join local people in collecting garbage and plastic waste along Do Son beach in Hai Phong city in response to a campaign to make the world cleaner
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NDO - Like many countries around the world, Vietnam is facing many problems regarding environmental degradation and pollution, climate change, sea levels rising, but especially pollution of plastic waste.

In response to the ‘Making the world cleaner 2019’ campaign, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) chose the theme "Local action, global impact" to call on the entire political system, businesses community and people to join hands to combat plastic pollution.

The United Nations has reported that every year the world uses approximately 500 billion plastic bottles and more than 500 billion plastic bags. The amount of plastic waste produced each year is enough to cover the surface of the earth four times over, including 13 million tonnes of plastic waste ending up in the oceans. The overuse of single-use nylon bags and plastic products has left unpredictable consequences for the environment.

Surveys have warned that plastic items can take up to hundreds of years to decompose. Burning of plastic bags releases chemicals into the air, causing serious health problems. Besides, plastic waste lying on the ocean floor can poison marine species.

More worrying, plastic pollution has resulted in serious damages to the environment and ecosystems since it clogs the flow of rivers and destroys biodiversity. Many marine animals die from being trapped by lost fishing gear, or eating plastic which they mistaken for familiar items of food. Microplastics especially can be ingested by fish species, thus entering the food chain and causing harmful impacts on human health.

Notably, Vietnam disposes about 2,500 tons of plastic waste a day, according to official figures, making it rank 17th out of 109 countries in regards to the level of plastic waste polluting in the world.

According to MONRE Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan, in addition to environmental problems and climate change, plastic waste and plastic pollution are becoming one of the biggest challenges facing human beings. Therefore, plastic pollution was chosen by as the main focus of the 2019 World Clean Up Campaign, which is celebrated in the third week every September. Through the campaign, the UN calls on all countries and localities to work together to fight plastic pollution.

In response to the campaign, Vietnam chose the theme of "Local action, global impact" with a focus on combating plastic pollution. This is a practical and urgent issue in the context of many countries around the world to exert effort to eliminate pollution.

During the event, the MONRE calls for joint effort and determination from the entire political system, organisations, businesses, and people from all walks of life to realise the Government’s target of not using single-use plastic products in urban markets, convenience stores and supermarkets by 2021, and nationwide by 2025.

In order to well implement the campaign and realise the set goals, the MONRE urges sectors, agencies, businesses and communities to take joint actions to reduce single-use plastics in the workplace and to collect and classify plastic products and nylon bags to be recycled. The ministry has also enhanced communication and education to raise awareness of the harmful effects of plastic waste and nylon bags on the socio-economy, the environment and human health, while working out effective solutions to limit the consumption and promote the reuse and recycling of plastic waste among the community and people.

Enterprises, supermarkets, markets and trade centres are being encouraged to use products that can be degraded, reused and are environmentally friendly to replace nylon bags and disposable plastic ware.

The ministry calls on each citizen to take further participation in the fight against plastic waste through their practical actions and initiatives, change their behaviours and habits of using nylon bags and plastic products, and criticise acts that violate the regulations on scrap and waste management.