Plastic waste discharge in ocean at high level in Vietnam
An international report released earlier this year said 8-9 million tons of plastic waste are discarded in the oceans every year. The figure is 33 times higher than the previous estimates.
More than 50 percent of the waste comes from Asian countries, including China which provides 2.4 million tons. The other four in the top five are Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
The volume of plastic waste in Asian countries is predicted to increase rapidly in the upcoming years as the plastic consumption volume is expected to increase by 80 percent in the next 10 years and exceed the 200 million ton threshold by 2025.
The report, made by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey, pointed out that if the top five countries in plastic waste began taking actions now, they would be able to cut 65 percent of the waste by 2025, which would help reduce 45 percent of the total waste in the globe.
Vietnam has been told it can begin dealing with the problem with four solutions – expanding the network of waste collectors; minimizing the leakage from dumping ground; incinerating garbage to create electricity; and building recycling workshops.
The solid waste collection efficiency is now relatively high in urban areas with 80-100 percent of solid waste collected. However, the figure is very modest, just 40-60 percent, in rural areas and suburbs, where two-thirds of Vietnamese people live.
If Vietnam can organize its plastic waste collection network well, it can reduce the volume of waste discharged into canals and rivers, which bring waste to the sea.
Burning plastic waste to generate power is a solution highly recommended by Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey for Vietnam, if Vietnam can use advanced incineration technologies which can meet emission safety standards.
If so, Vietnam not only can treat waste well, but also can generate power. Scientists pointed out that plastic waste can be used as alternative power for coal in the cement industry. This will help ease the energy burden on Vietnam, especially when Vietnam has to import coal to run domestic thermal power plants.
Commenting about the four suggested solutions, an analyst said while the first solution is within reach, the others aren’t.
“Everyone knows where the plastic waste will go to after it is collected – to small-scale privately run plastic workshops in some areas, where they are burned and recycled,” he said.
“The workshops there are environmental pollutants, and after the recycling process, they create low-quality plastic products which may harm people’s health,” he said.
Nhip Cau Dau Tu - December 10,2015