The official highlighted the effective cooperation between Vietnam and Japan in sea and island-related issues, saying his administration has drafted possible contents for cooperation with Japan such as sharing experience in management of maritime environment and resources, sea-based economic development and marine science.
The agency will soon begin building a project on cooperation with Japan in addressing the problem of marine plastic waste.
According to Japan’s estimate, Vietnam ranks fourth worldwide in the amount of plastic waste dumped into the sea, with about 730,000 tonnes each year.
Thi said Japan is one of the countries taking the lead in marine plastic waste treatment, noting that the country has showed their praise and support for the initiative to establish a common cooperation framework in East Asia in handling marine plastic pollution.
At the sixth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which took place in Vietnam’s central Da Nang city in June 2018, the Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and the VASI proposed a regional project on marine plastic waste, covering contents in which Japan can support the region and Vietnam in particular.
The VASI has also proposed programmes to Japan, aiming to enhance collaboration in science and maritime natural resources survey in Vietnam, especially in deep and far waters.
Dr. Nguyen Le Tuan, Director of Sea and Island Research Institute under the VASI said Vietnam has yet to put in place any common framework or specific mechanisms and plans to reduce marine plastic waste. The country also lacks information to assess the impacts of marine plastic waste on the environment, economy, human health and safety and society in coastal areas.
However, the country has raised various initiatives and made great efforts in this regard recently.
At the GEF6, Vietnam proposed that East Asian countries build, approve and implement a strategy and action plans on marine plastic waste management in the regional waters; reduce plastic production and tighten the management of the trading and use of plastic products. It also called for applying new technologies to replace plastic products by biodegradable plastics, among others.
The MonRE has assigned the VASI to coordinate with relevant agencies in realising such initiatives, Tuan said, noting that the Sea and Island Research Institute has also proposed a project on assessing plastic waste in Vietnam, along with countermeasures.
The Work Economic Forum (WEF)’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland in January 2016, heard that by 2050 there could be more plastic than fish in the sea (by weight).