|A pile of garbage in Ha Long Bay in the northern province of Quang Ninh. (Source: VNA)
Protecting the living environment, especially curbing plastic waste, is the responsibility shared by the entire community, the diplomat said at an event to mark the Earth Day (April 22) held by the US Consulate General in HCM City on April 19.
Mary Tarnowka described plastic waste as a serious threat, noting that piles of plastic waste in oceans have destroyed the natural environment, adversely affected the marine life and threatened the living environment.
Plastic trash has also accumulated on land, harming humankind’s life, the Consul General added.
Given this, she urged agencies and units to regularly launch campaigns to clean up rubbish, especially plastic waste, in localities, thus raising public awareness of this issue.
Echoing Mary Tarnowka’s views, Quach Thi Xuan, Director of the Da Nang-based Centre for Sustainable Development Consultation, said it is necessary to change people’s habit of using plastic products.
Besides, competent agencies need financial support to carry out communications programmes as well as projects on recycling plastic waste and producing environmentally friendly products, she said.
Xuan cited a recent international survey revealing that Vietnam is one of the five countries in the world discharging the most plastic waste, with about 1.8 million tonnes dumped each year.
Nguyen Thi Hoai Linh, Director of the Environment and Development Action organisation in Vietnam, proposed the State issue policies aiming to reduce the production of plastic products and encourage businesses to produce environmentally friendly products.
Businesses should balance profits and environmental protection in production, she said.
A survey conducted by the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment found that the volume of plastic trash in the city is just behind food waste, with an estimated 250,000 tonnes of plastic waste discarded each year.
According to HCM City’s waste recycling fund, if 48,000 tonnes of plastic waste, which are buried in the southern metropolis each year, are recycled, the city can save about VND15 billion (US$660,000) annually.