Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has asked for plans to phase out the use of plastic products in Vietnam with the goal of making the country free of single-use plastics by 2025.
He made the statement while launching a national campaign on plastic waste prevention in Hanoi on Sunday.
At the event, PM Phuc underlined the need to take practical and concrete measures to control and reduce plastic waste.
As much as 13 million metric tons of plastic trash is discharged into the world’s oceans every year, leaving lasting negative impacts on people’s living environment, health and the sustainable development of each nation, he said.
The Vietnamese leader demanded that ministries and government bodies of all levels outline programs and action plans to phase out the use of plastic products in the country.
He set a target of removing single-use plastic products from urban markets, convenience stores and supermarkets by 2021.
“By 2025, our entire nation must be free of single-use plastics,” he stressed.
|People join a class on wrapping gifts with cloths in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Thanh Yen / Tuoi Tre
Regulations and policies on scaling down the production and use of single-use plastics are to be drafted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment with support from relevant ministries and agencies, PM Phuc said.
Meanwhile, the development of environment-friendly products and the application of advanced technologies to recycling plastic waste must be encouraged, he said.
Vietnam is also working to cut and end the import of scrap from other countries, the PM added.
It was also announced at the launch that South Korea’s Park Hang-seo, the head coach of Vietnam’s national men’s football team, and his players have been appointed ambassadors of the campaign.
Speaking at Sunday’s event, Hanoi chairman Nguyen Duc Chung said Vietnam’s capital city would encourage all local enterprises operating in the manufacturing and distribution of goods to sign commitments on fighting plastic waste.
“We are looking to have 100 percent of supermarkets and shopping malls in Hanoi stop providing plastic bags by December 31, 2020,” Chung said.
|Goods are put into a reusable canvas bag at a Saigon Co.opmart outlet in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre
In Ho Chi Minh City, where plastics make up more than 20 percent of the southern metropolis’ daily waste output, small but concrete steps are being taken by local enterprises toward curbing the use of plastic products.
The city’s leading retailer Saigon Co.op has stopped selling plastic drinking straws across its trading system from May.
All of the 700-strong outlets within its supermarket chain also ceases supplying plastic shopping bags at checkout counters on the “no plastic bag day” held today, June 10.
Saigon Co.op customers are also encouraged to bring their own shopping bags or switch to reusable canvas bags available at checkout across their chain.
Earlier, several supermarket chains in Vietnam had replaced plastic packaging with banana leaves in a bid to go green.
More businesses in Vietnam are already investing in production of eco-friendly straws – made from stainless steel, flour or plants – as replacements of single-use plastic drinking straws that have stormed local restaurants and coffee franchises in the past years.