Single-use plastic pollution has become a critical global problem

Currently, plastic waste pollution is a dangerous threat to both the environment and human health and is becoming an urgent global problem, the second largest environmental challenge in the world, after climate change. .

According to a 2021 report by Beyond Plastics, the production of plastic is so energy-intensive that if the plastics industry were a country, it would be the fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.

According to data from Beyond Plastics, the plastics industry emits at least 232 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, equivalent to the average emissions of 116 coal-fired power plants in 2020. From production to At the end of its life cycle, single-use plastic always emits greenhouse gases, so environmentalists say that the “cost” to the climate due to using plastic will be too expensive.

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An estimated 3.1 million tons of plastic waste is generated on land in Vietnam, and at least 10% of this ends up in the ocean each year. The National Plastic Action Partnership in Vietnam says the amount of plastic leaking into rivers and seas could double by 2030 if current waste collection, recycling and treatment processes are not implemented. improve.

Plastic recycling seems ineffective because most plastic waste ends up piling up in landfills, while any recycling plan cannot address emissions from production.

Faced with that situation, environmentalists have made a number of recommendations to ensure the limitation of plastic use, such as saying “No” to plastic cutlery, limiting the consumption of bottled water, and using paper or fabric shopping bags, choose products packaged in paper instead of plastic, etc.

However, environmental experts say that ultimately, the world still needs large-scale change to fully address the environmental impacts caused by the fossil fuel and plastic industries.

Many organizations are making efforts to promote the passage of bills that help limit the use of single-use plastic, thereby creating changes at the national level. Many countries around the world such as New Zealand, India, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Chile, South Korea,… have announced policies to tighten the use of this material, as governments and organizations All officials consider this an extremely urgent problem, requiring solutions with great impact

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Roadmap to reduce single-use plastic pollution in Vietnam

To address the pollution caused by plastic items, Vietnam needs to gradually reduce these products in stages, combining policy tools and fiscal mechanisms, starting with restrict use and charge fees, and eventually prohibit use.

International experience shows that the benefits of gradually eliminating single-use plastic will outweigh the costs. However, an effective transition requires a phased approach to compensate for losses to producers while also preparing mechanisms to encourage consumers and businesses to change their behavior. The report recommends that Vietnam could start with restrictions on the use of single-use plastics in restaurants and accommodation establishments. The report also recommends charging fees for non-biodegradable plastic bags and takeaway coffee cups. The roadmap aims to impose a ban on the circulation of plastic straws, non-biodegradable plastic bags and food containers.

This policy roadmap will support the implementation of Decree 08/2022/ND-CP of the government, regulating a number of articles of the Law on Environmental Protection related to plastic waste management. These two reports are funded by PROBLUE, a multilateral trust fund with the goal of supporting countries in building a roadmap towards a sustainable green economy.

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