Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc visits a booth which displays vegetables wrapped in banana leaves at the event. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has pledged to rid Việt Nam of single use plastic products by the year 2025.
The leader says the country must take concrete measures to control plastic waste.
He has called on urban markets, convenience stores and supermarkets to stop using one-off plastic products by 2021, and he wants the whole country to follow suit over the next six years.
The PM has called on authorities to outline a series of measures to phase out the unnecessary use of plastic.
Launching a national campaign to prevent plastic waste in Hà Nội on Sunday, the PM said: "As many as 13 million tonnes of plastic trash discharged into oceans each year, it has left negative impacts on the living environment, people’s health and sustainable development of each nation.
"Rational mechanisms must be mapped out to cut and end the import of scraps and production of plastic bags that are hard to dissolve."
The Government leader said public awareness is key and called upon the press to spread the word about events like the one on Sunday.
A number of supermarkets in Hà Nội and HCM City have already pioneered to use banana leaves to wrap vegetables and meat instead of plastic bags.
Coffee shops and restaurants have also began to use paper straws and food boxes made from sugarcane waste to replace plastic.
PM Phúc ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and relevant ministries and agencies to work together to complete regulations and policies to scale down the use of single-use plastic products, encouraging the development of environmentally-friendly ones, and promoting the application of advanced technologies for plastic waste recycling.
As for the local business community, the PM asked them to improve corporate social responsibility by joining efforts to combat plastic waste. Meanwhile, consumers were requested to carry their own bags for multiple use while shopping.
Following the launch ceremony, PM Phúc, President of the Việt Nam Fatherland Front Central Committee Trần Thanh Mẫn, Deputy PM Trịnh Đình Dũng, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà and many officials joined a walk, calling the public’s involvement in the fight against plastic trash, and visited the “Challenges for Change” photo exhibition.
Việt Nam is one of Asia’s five worst polluters of ocean with plastic waste, according to international organisations.
Numbers from Việt Nam’s Association of Plastic illustrate the scale of the problem. In 1990, each Vietnamese consumed 3.8kg of plastic per year, but 25 years later, the figure hit 41kg. — VNS