Vietnam wastes $3 billion a year for not recycling plastic: UNDP

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By Gia Chinh July 15, 2022 | 4:25 p.m. PT

A man stands on a coracle surrounded by plastic and other rubbish on Ly Son Island, central Vietnam, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen

Vietnam “wastes” about $3 billion every year by not recycling plastic waste, a senior United Nations Development Program official told a conference on solid waste management on Friday.

Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP resident representative in the country, said Vietnam dumps about 19,000 tons of plastic waste a day. In some maritime regions, for every three parts of fish caught by fishing activities, there is one part of plastic waste that accompanies them, she added.

To help Vietnam utilize solid waste as a potential resource, the Global Environment Facility and the Norwegian government will provide $2 million to initiate a project supporting the implementation of the National Marine Plastic Litter Action Plan in as part of a post Covid-19 green recovery project.

The project is expected to facilitate a more dynamic and inclusive economy while providing opportunities for long-term sustainable growth and generating new jobs.

It aims to collect up to 220 tons of plastic waste each year from supermarkets and to create collection points in large neighborhoods, dumping 20 to 100 tons of recycled plastic waste per day.

Implemented over the next five years, the project will first be tested in the central province of Binh Dinh for around $1.2 million. UNDP will help create material recovery facilities capable of processing 2-4 tonnes of plastic waste per day.

The project will also pilot a waste management model in the fisheries sector, in which fishermen will be encouraged to bring their waste ashore after each trip. These efforts are expected to prevent around five tonnes of plastic from entering the sea per month and the goal is to prevent around 1,000 tonnes of waste from entering the sea per year, Wiesen said.

Nguyen Phi Long, chairman of Binh Dinh, said the growth in tourism and general improvement in living standards have led to an increase in plastic waste.

For example, Quy Nhon, the provincial capital, produces about 300 tons of waste per day, including 70 tons of plastic waste. Long said he hopes the plastic recycling project will not only protect the environment, but also promote tourism in the region.

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