Towards a circular economy

Plastic mountain: A local sorting items in a plastic waste landfill in the northern province of Lao Cai. — Vietnam News/ANN

Local authorities and international organisations discussed ways to reduce plastic waste and marine litter in Vietnam at a workshop held in Hanoi.

Delegates presented work between the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam and Expertise France on policy development as well as recommendations for four pilot projects in HCM City, Hanoi and Phu Yen province, which aim to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up untreated on land and in the oceans.

The initiatives included enhancing plastic packaging collection, sorting and recycling, encouraging fishermen to collect plastic waste caught while fishing, establishing an alliance of supermarkets to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags, and managing waste in ports.

“The Vietnamese government and the MONRE have shown strong political commitments affirming that we have always given high priority to finding both short and long-term solutions to reduce plastic pollution and foster economic development, ” said the director-general of the International Cooperation Department of the MONRE, Pham Phu Binh.

“The circular economy solution to marine plastic litter can be an important contribution to support the implementation of the National Action Plan and helps Vietnam achieve its goals. Experience and lessons learned from the project and pilot activities will serve as a basis to expand to other localities and aim to inform policy development initiatives, ” he said.

The circular economy means markets that give incentives to reusing products, rather than scrapping them and in such an economy, all forms of waste are returned to the economy or used more efficiently, according to the United Nations’ definition.

Talking about the circular economy, Rui Ludovino, First Counsellor, Climate Action, Environment, Employment and Social Policies at the Delegation of the European Union to Vietnam, said: “We must move towards a circular economy for plastics, an economy in which resources are used and managed more efficiently and more sustainably.

“Through the Rethinking Plastics project, we work closely with Vietnam to prevent marine plastic litter and share regional and European experiences.”

The four pilot activities complement these efforts towards a circular economy with concrete actions and experiences from the local level, involving communities and households, local businesses and administrations, he added. — Vietnam News/ANN

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