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Vietnam warned of “white pollution” from plastic bags

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Environmental experts have voiced their concern about so-called white pollution caused by plastic bags and products, which are very widely used in Vietnam.

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Plastic bags in the environment also cause secondary pollution, seriously affecting soil and water quality. 

When plastic bags exist in soil, they prevent oxygen intake, causing soil erosion and degradation. As the soil becomes exhausted, plants are not able to grow. Soil and water contaminated by plastic bags can affect human health. 

The bags in Vietnam are collected and treated improperly. Burning of plastic bags generates toxic gases.

According to Dang Kim Chi from VACNE (Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment), the volume of plastic products created globally has increased by 20 times in the last 50 years. It is expected that 1,124 million tons of plastics would be produced by 2050.

She warned that if plastics production and use increases rapidly, and the collection and treatment do not increase proportionally, plastic waste will be rampant in the environment. 

Chi said plastics are often thrown away just after one time of use, so the volume of plastic waste has been increasing. 

The scientist reported that Vietnam ranks fourth among Asian countries which produce the most plastic waste. The other three are China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Plastics only disintegrate after hundreds or thousands of years in natural conditions, she said.

Chi also expressed concern over ocean plastic waste which includes millions of tons of plastic waste.

According to Tran Chau, deputy chair of Binh Dinh provincial People’s Committee, each household in Vietnam uses five to seven plastic bags a day. 

In Hanoi and HCMC alone, 80 tons plastics and plastic bags are discharged every day.

Scientists have called on the government to apply measures to encourage people to use plastics in a reasonable way, recycle plastic waste, and use alternative materials. 

They have also suggested designing tax policies that would discourage production of plastic products, especially plastic bags.

Nguyen Thanh Yen from the Environment General Directorate under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) believes that it is necessary to conduct a ‘revolution’ in technology and eliminate plastic waste. He said that recycling is only a temporary solution and cannot eliminate plastic waste.

 

 

Source: Thien Nhien - VietNamNet

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