Viet Nam News
HẠ LONG CITY, Quảng Ninh — The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), has organised a programme to introduce the zero-waste concept to companies in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The event, called Action for a Green Ha Long: Towards Zero Waste, was held in collaboration with Bhaya Cruise, GreenHub, and Live & Learn and took place on June 14 in the tourism hub of Hạ Long City, the northern coastal province of Quảng Ninh.
It attracted more than 100 participants from cruise companies and travel agencies, as well as tour guides, tourism and hospitality students, and their university lecturers.
The participants also included environmental experts and campaigners from domestic and international organisations, the Hạ Long Bay Management Board, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), NGO specialists, and the media.
Additional contributions to the programme came from fashion company BOO and La Regina Cruise.
As part of the Hạ Long-Cát Bà Alliance, an initiative funded by USAID, the programme was held to support the World Environmental Day 2018 theme, Beat plastic pollution – If you cannot reuse it, refuse it.
USAID Việt Nam’s Mission Director, Michael Greene, said this was the fourth Action for a Green Hạ Long programme since 2016.
Previous events included training on solid waste collection and classification, student competitions, and beach clean-ups while focusing on business engagement, Greene said.
“Over the past three events, volunteers have collected a total of four tons of trash, mostly expanded polystyrenes and plastic bottles,” he said.
The deputy head of the Hạ Long Bay Management Board, Nguyễn Huyền Anh said Quảng Ninh Province and the board were mobilising all resources to implement measures to boost the management, preservation, and development of Hạ Long Bay.
“One of the key tasks is to boost investment in environmental protection,” Huyền Anh said.
Huyền Anh said various action plans have been deployed to serve such goals, including an environmental plan for Hạ Long Bay for 2020 to 2030, a deployment plan for the national green growth strategy, and a project on improving Quảng Ninh’s general environment, including Hạ Long Bay.
With over 500 boats and four million tourists visiting every year, the bay is one of Việt Nam’s top tourist attractions.
However, water pollution and poor solid waste management is damaging its reputation, as reflected by the number of negative comments on travel websites such as TripAdvisor, the IUCN said in a report.
Immediate investments in wastewater treatment and solid waste management are needed to maintain Hạ Long Bay’s environmental values and the jobs and revenue it generates, the report said.
The fourth Action for a Green Hạ Long encourages businesses in the tourism and hospitality sectors to take targeted action towards zero waste.
Zero waste is not only a good form of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) but will also benefit businesses through improved branding and marketing opportunities and by contributing to a cleaner, more attractive bay.
With USAID support, the Hạ Long-Cát Bà Alliance was established in 2014 as a partnership among government, business, and community leaders to catalyse action to preserve and protect Hạ Long Bay and the Cát Bà Archipelago.
In 2015, the Alliance formed a business-led Leadership Committee, which works to address environmental challenges caused by cruise boats and provides technical advice to UNESCO on the management of Hạ Long Bay as well as the proposed addition of the Cát Bà Archipelago to the Hạ Long Bay World Heritage Site.
In 2017, USAID continued its funding to IUCN, to enhance business alliances that invest in actions to preserve and protect the bay and to advocate for the issuance of government regulations to enable these actions, as well as to reinforce the value of the World Heritage Site designation in providing a level of international scrutiny and influence over site management. — VNS