Vietnam is the fourth-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution globally, a 2015 study by the University of Georgia showed.
I took the above photo during a recent trip to Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994 and one of the natural wonders of the world. While the water is often described as “emerald” that is not always the case because of pollution. In addition, if you take a boat out on the bay for a half a day or overnight, there is a nearly 100% certainly that you will see plastic items floating in the water. Most of this garbage will eventually find its way into the sea.
Aside from the importance of maintaining a healthy environment for the sake of the flora and fauna that live in it and the people who consume what it has to offer, there is also tourism, which is ultimately dependent upon a clean and beautiful natural environment, including the water that people swim in.
Sadly, Viet Nam is one of Asia’s five worst polluters of ocean plastic waste with 13 million tonnes of waste released to the ocean every year. The country ranks 17th in the world for ocean plastic waste pollution. According to the February 2019 article from which that information was taken, each person in Viet Nam consumed 3.8 kg of plastic per year in 1990; in 2015, that figure had skyrocketed to 41 kg (Source: Viet Nam’s Association of Plastic). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) estimated that about 80 TONS (!) of plastic waste and bags are thrown away every day in Hanoi and HCMC alone.
To learn about positive steps that are being taken and can be taken, read the rest of the aforementioned mention article, Việt Nam takes action to reduce plastic waste. Waste is not only a burden but an economic opportunity with the use of existing technology and that currently being developed. There’s gold in garbage, as many entrepreneurs have discovered.
Shalom (שלום), MAA