Burying is the most common method of treating plastic waste in HCM City. The city's authorities have launched a new project encouraging plastic waste recycling. Photo zing.vn
HCM CITY – To reduce the plastic waste released into the environment, especially to the ocean, HCM City has approved a project that encourages the recycling of waste, especially plastic waste picked up by private garbage collectors.
Each Vietnamese person uses an average of 1.2kg of waste per day, of which 16 percent is made of plastic, Trần Thanh Lam, an environmental expert, said at a seminar at the Plastics Recycling Networking event on Thursday in HCM City.
With nearly 12.8 million tonnes of waste released to the ocean every year. Việt Nam is one of Asia’s five worst polluters of ocean plastic waste.
Figures from Việt Nam’s Association of Plastics illustrate the scale of the problem. In 1990, each Vietnamese consumed 3.8kg of plastic per year, but 25 years later, the figure had hit 41kg.
As many as 1,000 plastic bags are used each minute, but only 27 per cent of them are treated and recycled.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates that about 80 tonnes of plastic waste and bags are thrown away every day in Hà Nội and HCM City combined.
The HCM City project called “3Rs” stands for “Reduce – Re-use – Recycle”, focusing on plastic recycling. It will also create networks for private garbage collectors in HCM City and throughout Việt Nam.
In addition, it will improve private garbage collectors’ working conditions, reducing health risk factors and raising public awareness about their work.
The project aims to have at least 70 per cent of plastic waste of the 582 tonnes per day of domestic waste collected by 4,000 private garbage collectors for recycling.
When the project ends, 50 private garbage collectors’ organisations will sign public service delegation contracts with local authorities or set up community-based waste pre-collection and recycling systems.
Seventy per cent of targeted private garbage collectors are expected to increase their income from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.
The 50 private garbage collectors’ organisations in HCM City will identify the main factors of risk and reduce the risk of accidents and disease under the project.
At least 50 per cent of targeted private garbage collectors will improve their access to adequate health insurance or services.
The treatment after collected plastic waste is also a significant problem. Most solid waste in Việt Nam as well as in HCM City is treated by burning or dumped in landfills.
However, these methods are said to have low environmental and economic values because landfills cause pollution and burning emits toxins.
Lê Trọng Thanh, an environmental expert, said that HCM city should study methods to use technology in making environmentally-friendly materials from waste.
Using high-tech applications to limit landfills is an urgent task, he said.
Việt Nam recently succeeded in turning waste to energy or organic carbon, a compound used to improve soil and applied in organic agriculture.
The energy generated from waste has been used for the national grid in HCM City.
The organic carbon soil has been certified to have higher nutrition levels than cow and chicken manure, and is two times higher than organic bio-fertiliser. – VNS