Albert T. Lieberg, FAO’s chief representative in Vietnam, said that while single-use plastic is popular, Vietnam’s capacity of waste management is still limited, which increases the plastic waste burden on the country’s environment and public health.
Plastic waste threatens beaches. Photo: Lekima Hung
Vietnamese people are estimated to discharge 1.8 million tons of plastic waste per year, while the plastic consumption increases 16-18%, Albert T. Lieberg said.
He added that the abuse of disposable plastic products is on the rise. It takes businesses only a few seconds to produce a plastic bag, a plastic bottle or a plastic straw; people use it for a few minutes and throw it into trash bin. Meanwhile, plastic waste takes tens, hundreds, even thousands of years to completely decompose.
Phan Tuan Hung, director of the Legal Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said that plastic waste is currently managed like other types of waste. There is no specific regulation on plastic waste management yet, except some tax regulations that restrain the use of plastic bags.
“Policies and laws on plastic waste management are not commensurate with the impact level and its implications for the environment, ecosystems and human health, as well as with the social interest in this issue,” Hung said.
“In terms of technical regulations, there must be limits on the amount of plastic or thickness of plastic bags. Along with that, it is necessary to work out some kinds of taxes and environmental protection fees for plastic products,” Hung explained.
Therefore, he stressed that Vietnam should apply environmental protection tax on plastic bags taking into account the number of bags instead of the weight of plastic. Especially, the Vietnamese government should levy tax on plastic bags of less than 30 micrometers of thickness.
The National Action Plan to manage ocean plastic waste in Vietnam states that by 2030, the country will prohibit the use of single-use plastic products in touristic facilities and beaches, Hung noted.
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