To address the plastic waste issue, the industry and trade sector is adopting increasing efforts to implement Vietnam’s National Action Plan on Management of Marine Plastic Waste, which covers the rest of this decade.
|Alliances formed in mission to alter behaviours - illustration photo |
With roughly two million tonnes of plastic trash released each year, Vietnam is among one of the heaviest plastic polluters in the world. The action plan was released at the end of 2019, and more businesses than ever are initiating cleaner strategies and methods, as heard at a talk show on Innovative Solutions and Substitutes for Single-use Plastic towards Green Consumption, hosted by VIR.
Le Viet Nga, deputy director of the Department of Domestic Market under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) said at the talk show that the ministry has organised many programmes for sustainable consumption, green growth, and cleaner production in the last few years. Many policies for businesses, as well as for the advocacy of consumers, are aimed toward green, clean, and sustainable products.
Nga said, “In the domestic market, there are many units dedicated to green consumption-oriented goods, such as energy-saving products that are less harmful to the environment or organic and safe agricultural products that not only protect workers’ health but also the environment.”
Nga added that there would also be more promotional activities to limit the use of plastic bags and other products made from plastic. Vietnam aims to replace all single-use plastic bags at shopping malls and supermarkets with environmentally-friendly alternatives by 2025.
Nga stated that this is not an easy goal as the time period is short. Meanwhile, using traditional, disposable plastic bags in shopping and daily life, especially at traditional markets, remains popular.
To achieve the goal, experts deem it necessary to have the cooperation of the business community and the positive response of consumers in Vietnam. The MoIT has increased state administration of environmental protection in production and business activities in addition to policies on waste reduction in production, distribution, and consumption.
The 2019 directives were followed by documents promulgated in the National Strategy on Green Growth for the 2021-2030 period, with a vision for 2050.
In order to comply with Vietnam’s commitments to regional and international cooperation mechanisms on the disposal of plastic waste, the MoIT has inspected the compliance with regulations on waste and plastic scrap management in businesses and industrial and handicraft clusters, and tightened control over environmental pollution.
Vietnam has had many positive signals in promoting the restriction of the use of plastic bags. For example, the Alliance of Retailers to Reduce Single-use Plastic Bags (Plastic Alliance) is a pilot project implemented to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic bags in Vietnam and spread a sustainable green lifestyle.
To date, 16 retailers have signed up to join the alliance. During the process, many businesses have actively reduced the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags and replaced all bags with biodegradable ones.