Tuesday, September 24 2019

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HCM City highlights women’s role in fight against plastic pollution

Update: August, 30/2019 - 08:43

 

HCM City is seriously promoting the sorting of garbage at source and reducing the use of single-use plastic products. — VNS Photo Ngọc Diệp

HCM CITY — Women play a particularly important role in sorting garbage at source and minimising the use of plastic bags and other single-use plastic products in households and communities, a top HCM City environment official has said.

Nguyễn Thị Thanh Mỹ, deputy director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said this at a seminar organised by the city Women's Union and her department on Wednesday (August 28) to discuss solutions for reducing plastic waste and efficiently sorting waste at source.

Nearly half of all plastic waste is packaging, mainly plastic bags, straws and single-use bottles, she said.

“The large amount of plastic waste has an adverse impact on the environment.”

Plastic takes up to 1,000 years to decompose when discarded in landfills or in the environment, she said.

The city now has the major task of collecting, transporting, recycling, and treating solid waste daily, she said.

More than 9,000 tonnes of solid waste are generated in the city every day, going up to 10,000 -12,000 tonnes during public holidays like Tết (Lunar New Year), she said.

Plastic waste accounts for around 10 per cent, she revealed.

The city spends around VNĐ2 trillion (US$86 million) a year to collect, transport and treat solid waste.

“To combat plastic pollution, each individual, particularly women, has to proactively limit plastic bag usage and sort their solid waste at source,” Mỹ said.

Following a decision issued by the city People’s Committee, State agencies, non-business units, schools, health facilities and certain other organisations in the city have cut down on disposable plastic products used at meetings, conferences, seminars and other similar activities since August 1.

A series of campaigns and programmes are being held to urge individuals and the community to change their behaviours and habits related to the use of plastic bags and other single-use plastic products, raise awareness of the impacts of plastic waste, and increase the use of eco-friendly plastic bags.

Trần Thị Phương Hoa, chairwoman of the city Women's Union, said the union has more than 10.600 women who have joined 400 environmental protection clubs.

They are undertaking many activities to propagandise about environmental protection, the response to climate change and limiting the use of plastic bags, she said.

Women’s unions at all districts, wards and communes have organised meetings, events and contests to promote sorting of solid waste at source and limit the use of plastic bags, she said.

“Women play a huge role in solid waste management in the family and community,” Hoa said.

They should be provided with the knowledge and skills to enhance their roles in the fight against plastic pollution, she said.

The union would continue to encourage the use of recycled plastic bags, she added.

Đỗ Thị Hiền, an owner of rental rooms and an active member of the Women’s Union in Tân Phú District, said she has stringent regulations for people who rent her rooms.

“If anyone does not allow the collection and sorting of garbage as instructed, they receive warnings and are then sent out."

Most are students and workers from other cities and provinces staying long-term, she said.

Đỗ Thanh Yến Nhi, director of An Nhiên Coffee and Tea Joint Stock Company in Tân Bình District, said replacing plastic items with other safe and environment-friendly ones has become a necessity.

Her company’s coffee shops now use straws made of rice flour and paper glasses instead of plastic straws and glasses, she said.

“Though the cost is higher, it could help our business go greener and attract more customers.”

Small changes could carry a message to people to take part in practical actions for environmental protection, she added. — VNS

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