|Photo: Thanh Yen/Tuoitre
Joining the national 2019-2021 anti-plastic waste campaign, government offices and agencies in Ho Chi Minh City are required, starting August 1, not to use bottled water, including for conferences. Instead they should use bottles of more than 20 liters that are easier to reuse.
Disposable plastic bags and one-time wipes are discouraged.
Schools and medical centers in the city have also been asked not to use plastic cups and straws or single-use plastic products in all daily activities.
From 2020, the municipal Department of Finance will not allocate funds to government agencies for buying disposable plastic products.
The government of HCMC, home to 13 million people including migrants, has also set a target for zero disposable plastic use in urban supermarkets, commercial centers, convenience stores, bookstores by the end of 2020.
Traders at traditional markets in the city are also encouraged to reduce the use of plastic bags to pack goods for customers while convenience stores and food shops are asked to have discount policies for customers carrying environmentally-friendly products on their own to pack food, drinks and goods.
The city will include the burgeoning anti-plastic waste problem into school curricula to spread awareness and sound the alarm. Students will be taught how to sort waste at source.
PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said last month that Vietnam should strive for zero disposable plastic use in urban stores, markets and supermarkets by 2021 and for no plastic products to be used in the entire country by 2025.
Earlier, the HCMC Open University and the Medicine and Pharmacy University had announced plans to stop using single-use water bottles and plastic straw.
Starting August 1, Fahasa, Vietnam's biggest bookstore chain, will use a paper band to wrap books purchased from their shops for customers who bring their own bag.
Bui Trong Hieu, chairman of the HCMC Urban Environment Company Limited, has said that of the 8,700 tons of trash discarded in the city daily, plastic accounts for 1,800 tons but a mere 200 tons, or 11 percent, is collected for recycling.
The recent moves by different actors come in the wake of reports that Vietnamese produce a staggering amount of plastic waste: around 2,500 tons of a day.
Vietnam has been ranked the fourth biggest polluter of oceans in the world by U.S. based non-profit environmental organization Ocean Conservancy.