A ban on plastic bag use in supermarkets and shopping malls is one of the key objectives in Ho Chi Minh City’s 2021 master plan for reusing, recycling, handling, and reducing plastic waste.
The plan aims to phase out single-use plastic bags and introduce eco-friendly materials as alternatives in all supermarkets and shopping centers of the city by the end of the year.
According to the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the master plan would only work if monitoring of plastic waste at the source is heightened.
Considering this, the city authority requires all government offices to restrict the use of plastic packages, before completely eliminating them, in daily activities.
Public facilities, including schools, hospitals, and clinics, should also phase out single-use plastics from all daily operations.
The plan also looks to tackle plastic use in domestic life, more specifically the amount of plastic waste in circulation at shopping centers and marketplaces.
It is essential that traders in markets and malls replace plastic bags with eco-friendly alternatives, while customers should pick up the habit of bringing their own containers.
The city aims to eliminate all plastic bags in supermarkets and shopping centers, plus 50 percent of non-biodegradable bags in traditional markets, by the end of 2021, before cutting plastic packaging down to the minimum by 2030.
The environment department also pointed to tourism, marine economy, fisheries and sea resource extraction as other notable sources of plastic discharges, which could only be dealt with if dischargers are required to collect and transfer the waste over to authorities for recycling and handling.
Promotion is key
Various campaigns promoting eco-friendly materials and choices to reduce plastic waste in 2020 have already enkindled positive behavioral shifts among dwellers of Vietnam’s southern metropolis.
Pham Ba, a resident of Binh Thanh District, was delighted to receive a biodegradable bag after shopping at the convenience store FamilyMart, as he knew the bag would disintegrate and not become a burden on the planet.
At the same time, public and private offices are on board with the plastic elimination movement, many of which are ditching plastic water bottles for traditional cups and water jugs.
Ho Chi Minh City already initiated various programs to clear out waste in the communities, empty lots, rivers, and canals.
This year, the city will proceed with its ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ motto to advocate for plastic waste reduction, with more training sessions and promotional campaigns on the harmful effects of single-use plastics on the environment and people.
The municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment is planning to work with plastic packaging manufacturers, swaying them into producing more eco-friendly products and distributing them to the market.