On the 12th of October, the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) held a forum addressing the need to reduce waste nationwide. The forum was attended by ministerial delegates, local trade union representatives, private companies and several countries’ chambers of commerce. MONRE has held this forum due to Vietnam’s pervasive waste problem. The country was named one of the top 5 nations that dumps more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined. Waste collection is also a persistent problem, since only 40 to 60 percent of waste ends up in the dumps, while the rest is discharged into bodies of water (i.e. rivers and canals).
The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Mr. Tran Hong Ha has warned that oceanic pollution is ‘a global threat’ and declared that the proliferation plastic and nylon waste has become a grave matter. He added that ‘the reduction of waste from plastics and nylon has become an urgent priority; we can start by reducing the consumption of plastic products and nylon which is difficult to decompose, especially plastic products that can only be used once’.
Kamal Malhotra, the head of UN in Vietnam, has made similar statements, announcing that waste reduction is a ‘local, regional, national and global issue’ that needs to be addressed with the utmost urgency. Mr. Malhotra has urged the Vietnamese government to ‘enact strong policies that will prevent the production and usage of plastic bags that can only be used once’. Private companies, foreign chambers of commerce and international embassies have pledged their support for the government’s mission to reduce Vietnam’s waste footprint. Moritz Michel, Deputy Director of the Hanns Seidel Foundation in Vietnam finds the country’s commitment encouraging, saying that ‘We are glad that the Vietnamese government is directly tackling the issue of waste reduction with the cooperation of private companies. We are hopeful for what the future will entail for this endeavor.’
The end of the forum was marked by the awarding of certificates to private companies such as Friesland Campina, Samsung and Big C who have committed to reducing their waste output in the pursuit of a cleaner environment. The conclusion of the forum has shown a promising path for Vietnam to pursue its environmental strategy. It is evident that Vietnam’s public and private sector are determined to reduce the output and impact of waste upon the country’s natural environment.