Joint campaign launched to reduce plastic waste in Việt Nam's tourism sector

February 17, 2023 - 07:25
The campaign encourages individuals and organisations in charge of cultural, sports, and tourism venues to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic and waste disposal.
Tourists to Cô Tô Island in the northern Quảng Ninh Province are offered paper bags as part of a project reducing plastic waste. —VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vân

HÀ NỘI — A new campaign aimed at reducing plastic waste in Việt Nam's tourism industry was launched on Thursday, signalling the country's commitment to its sustainable development goals and environmental protection.

The joint effort is led by the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment (ISPONRE) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Vietnam Tourism Association, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Việt Nam.

The campaign encourages individuals and organisations in charge of cultural, sports, and tourism venues to reduce and eliminate single-use plastic and waste disposal. Tourists, visitors, and local communities are also advised to use environmentally-friendly products and technology.

According to ISPONRE's Deputy Director, Nguyễn Trung Thắng, while there are support policies for waste recycling, there is still a lack of specific guidelines on technology selection, solid waste treatment, national technical standards on recycling, and access to incentives stated in the 2020 environmental protection law.

To perfect the laws and policies on plastic waste management in Việt Nam, Thắng believes that there must be detailed regulations and guidelines on the roadmap to reduce the production and import of single-use plastic, non-biodegradable plastic packaging, plastic waste sorting, as well as on the extended liability of manufacturers on the packaging.

Specific regulations on incentives for recycling and reusing plastic waste, harnessing energy from the waste treatment process, and consuming post-processed products must also be established.

Economic tools such as adjusting the environmental protection tax could also aid in managing plastic waste.

UNDP representative Nguyễn Thị Thu Huyền stated that plastic waste pollution is a major global challenge due to its negative impacts on the environment, particularly on marine life.

Many countries worldwide have introduced initiatives to call for global actions on plastic pollution, taking into account legal compliance.

Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính approved a project in August 2021 on the country's active participation in forming a global treaty on marine plastic pollution.

Hà Văn Siêu, deputy director of the National Administration of Tourism under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, believes that the "Reducing Plastic Waste in Vietnamese Tourism Sector" project will help raise awareness among all levels and departments, businesses, locals, and tourists on the matter.

Initiatives and solutions to reduce plastic waste will be piloted at several restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions in Ninh Bình and Quảng Nam provinces before being scaled to the national level.

The project has been granted funding from the UNDP's Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme for operations in 2023 and 2024.

It will also help build, pilot, and issue criteria to recognise no-plastic tourism businesses, an action plan to reduce plastic waste in tourism, and an application on plastic waste management.

Regulations to reduce plastic waste in tourism were introduced in Decision No. 4216/QĐ-BVHTTDL, which promulgates the code of conduct for environmental protection in culture, sports, and tourism activities. — VNS