A Roadmap to Stop Single-Use Plastic Pollution in Vietnam - Modern Diplomacy

2022-07-26 22:43:02 By : Mr. Mr Leed

The majority of plastics polluting Vietnam’s waterways are single-use, low-value items such as plastic bags, food containers, and straws, according to a World Bank study launched today. To address the pollution caused by these items, Vietnam needs a progressive phase-out, accompanied by the promotion of viable alternatives, and an improved solid waste management system.

Vietnam: Plastic Pollution Diagnostics shows that plastic waste is by far the most abundant type of waste collected in river and coastal sites, accounting for 94 percent of the number of items and 71 percent by weight. The top ten most common plastic items account for more than 80 percent of the total plastic waste ending up in waterways. Most of these items are single use.

“Rapid economic growth, urbanization, and changing lifestyles in Vietnam have led to a country-wide plastic pollution crisis,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Vietnam. “This study shows that single-use plastic items make up a large portion of plastic pollution in Vietnam, and addressing their use will make a big difference.”

An estimated 3.1 million metric tons of plastic waste is discharged on land in Vietnam, and at least 10 percent of this goes into the ocean every year. The Vietnam National Plastics Action Partnership says the amount of plastic in waterways could more than double by 2030 if the country’s current waste collection, recycling, and treatment processes are not improved.

A related World Bank report, Toward a National Single-use Plastics Roadmap in Vietnam,proposes a gradual effort to combat this pollution through a mix of policy instruments and fiscal mechanisms, progressing from restrictions and fees to bans.

International experience shows that the benefits of phasing out single-use plastics outweigh the costs. However, effective transition requires a phased approach that offsets the losses of producers while preparing and creating incentives for consumers and industries to change their behavior. Beginning with the recommendation of restrictions on single-use plastics inside food establishments and in hotel toiletry products, the report also suggests imposing fees on non-biodegradable plastic bags and coffee-to-go cups. The roadmap gradually targets a market ban on plastic straws, non-biodegradable plastic bags and food containers.

The policy roadmap will help implement a recent government decree, designed to enforce plastic waste management issues under the Environmental Protection Law. The two reports are funded by PROBLUE, a multi-donor trust fund designed to help countries chart a course towards a sustainable blue economy.

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After the severe impact of industrial pollution, Siberian rivers will once again become watercourses inhabited by wild Siberian sturgeon.

The deterioration of riparian biota associated with watercourse regulation and pollution has only recently been recognized as a serious problem. Ecologists around the world have a high responsibility to draw public attention to this problem and to find a suitable solution together with the relevant authorities. Responsible businesses make their own decisions to support biodiversity.

As a good example, Finnish company Pohjolan Voima Oyj is actively involved in a large-scale project on fish migration in the Ijoki River in Finland. The project includes, for instance, the construction of a fish passage in Haapakoski for the downstream migration of juveniles as well as fishing equipment. The project also supports the start of construction of fish passage facilities at Raasakka. 

A particular problem has been raised this year in Norway, where due to the shallowing of rivers, salmon eggs have been deposited not in the water but on land. Norwegian specialists just have to look for ways to solve these problems and water levels in rivers necessary for safe migration of salmon and other fish.

The good news came unexpectedly from Russia. Norilsk Nickel, the largest industrial enterprise in the Arctic, approves settlement agreement with The Federal Agency for Fishery in Russia (Rosrybolovstvo) and decided to participate in the restoration and support of the biodiversity of Siberian rivers. In the first phase, starting in 2023, the industrialists will finance scientific research on the assessment of bioresources, and later will annually release fry into Siberian rivers, including such large rivers as the Yenisei.

One of the best-known cases is Iceland, where the Strengur program is aimed at developing and preserving the fish that live in local rivers. Its goal is to open up new habitat and food resources to improve growth and survival during the critical early stages of the salmon life cycle. Extending the spawning areas and nursery grounds through the construction of new salmon ladders is also progressing as an important part of long-term plans to help Iceland’s salmon thrive.

These examples are especially important because of the threatened extinction of many species on the planet, rising global fish catch rates, fish imports and the depletion of aquatic life. The transition to ecosystem-based management must be gradual and based on cooperation among the relevant actors, Nature says.

The World Economic Forum – in collaboration with China-UK Collaboration on International Forest Investment and Trade, the World Wide Fund for Nature China and The Nature Conservancy – has launched a new report that sets out how China can do more to address global commodity-driven deforestation.

The report, China’s Role in Promoting Global Forest Governance and Combating Deforestation, provides insights into the many ways China can step up on global leadership in combating commodity-driven deforestation. Given that soft-commodity value chains such as soy, beef, palm oil and forest products cause at least 40% of global deforestation and China is a major importer and consumer, the country has a critical role to play in addressing deforestation.

Such action is in China’s own interest, strengthening the resilience of supply chains, boosting its food security, and is also aligned with its stated ecological civilization goal and pledge to promote the greening of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The report points to the many domestic advances from bilateral and multilateral cooperation and the development of market mechanisms, such as in promoting timber legality, forest certification, sustainable overseas forest management, greening of supply chains and legislation. These experiences can be used to inform China’s promotion of other deforestation-free commodities in the future to help tackle the global challenge.

The report also challenges some of the traditionally held myths among experts and professional networks in China, such as:

“International cooperation must be strengthened to achieve deforestation-free supply chains,” said Gim Huay Neo, Managing Director, Centre for Nature and Climate, World Economic Forum. “We need more joint public-private dialogues and collaborative action across bilateral and multilateral platforms. This report highlights learnings and insights for all stakeholders to work together and co-create solutions.”

The report strongly advocates for the need to strengthen global cooperation to harvest collective action. Zhu Chunquan, Head, China Nature Initiatives, World Economic Forum, said: “Collective action is indispensable, both at home and overseas. In China, the Forum is working with the Chinese government on its high-level integrated national strategy to regulate soft commodity green value chains. This requires both an inter-ministerial and a multistakeholder cooperation mechanism that includes the private sector, civil society, think tanks and individuals. It also requires associated synergies with China’s peak emission, carbon neutrality and global biodiversity framework target.”

China’s Role in Promoting Global Forest Governance and Combating Deforestation has support from the China-UK Collaboration on International Forest Investment and Trade, World Wide Fund for Nature China, The Nature Conservancy, Forest Trends, the Research Institute of Forestry Policy and Information at the Chinese Academy of Forestry, the Forest Stewardship Council, and Beijing Zhonglin Union Forestry Planning and Design Institute. It has been worked on since January 2020, with five rounds of physical, hybrid and virtual consultations from more than 70 experts. The report draws on collective insight from the China’s forest experts over the past 20 years.

Shortly after celebrating the 15th anniversary of its zero waste commitment, the Tuscan city of Capannori has become a Zero Waste Certified City with the accreditation of 4 stars.

The Zero Waste Cities Certification is a robust European third-party assessed certification standard, developed by the non-governmental organisation Mission Zero Academy (MiZA) and powered by Zero Waste Europe. Fully supported by the non-profit local organisation Zero Waste Italy, this certification aims to accelerate the European cities’ zero waste transition. Capannori, European frontrunner in the zero waste and circular economy movement, counts with a wide range of waste prevention, reuse and recycling measures in place. Moreover, it has created a dedicated strategy for improvements, engaging widely both with the local community and different stakeholders to facilitate the zero waste transition.

Among its impressive and inspiring results, the municipality of Capannori, with the support of Zero Waste Italy, managed to achieve:

Following the Certification, the municipality will carry out yearly improvements to monitor and enhance the outcomes achieved, which will be subjected to new audits every 3 years to confirm the Certification status, with the possibility to level up, reaching a maximum of 5 stars.

Luca Menesini, Mayor of Capannori said “We are proud of this extraordinary recognition, which comes 15 years after joining the Zero Waste strategy. It confirms that by focusing on environmental protection, restoring waste as a resource to new life, and avoiding incineration, we are on the right path towards a circular economy that will ensure a quality future for the new generations –

I thank all the citizens of Capannori for this result, a cohesive community ready to respond positively to every innovation, the Ascit company and its workers, the Zero Waste Research Center, and Rossano Ercolini, a teacher on the subject who has always been on our side, always contributing with valuable ideas”, he added.

Kaisa Karjalainen, Mission Zero Academy Manager stated: “The Zero Waste Cities network began with Capannori and has since then inspired hundreds of European cities serving as a starting point for our Zero Waste Cities Certification. We want to congratulate them on their achievement and continuous leadership on the topic. We are sure they once again serve as an inspiration to other cities in Italy and beyond.”

“I am proud that my hometown of Capannori has been certified as a ZWE city by MiZA. This is the best way to celebrate the anniversary of our zero-waste commitment and to further the bottom up story that started with the defeat of an incinerator. Zero waste is possible and necessary for an Ecological Revolution”, highlighted Rossano Ercolini, Zero Waste Italy and Zero Waste Europe President.

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