Vietnam Scheme To Tighten Controls on Plastic Bags

Vietnam Scheme To Tighten Controls on Plastic Bags

Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Aug. 31, 2012 - Vietnam will gradually eliminate the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags in daily life, with an aim to reduce by 40% the number of plastic bags used at supermarkets and shopping malls by 2015 and replace them with eco-friendly bags.

The regulation is given in a draft scheme for management of environmental pollution by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The scheme is expected to be submitted to the Government this week.

Dang Van Loi, deputy director of the Department of Pollution Control under the Vietnam Environment Administration, told the Daily that the scheme would tighten control on plastic bags, from production, consumption to recovery and recycling and encourage citizens to use eco-friendly bags.

The scheme sets a target that by 2020, 35% of the non-biodegradable plastic bags used in daily life will be recovered and recycled into environmentally-friendly products.

In addition, by 2020, plastic bags used at supermarkets and shopping malls will be slashed by 65% against 2010, while the number of plastic bags used at traditional markets will be reduced 40%.

Loi said the use of environmentally-friendly plastic bags is currently limited. However, given the environment tax and the preferential policy for eco-friendly bag makers, producers and consumers will switch to environmentally-friendly bags.

In HCMC, some 50 tons of plastic bags is discharged into the environment every day, according to a survey of the HCMC Waste Recycling Fund. Many citizens said they do know about the adverse impact of plastic bags on the environment, but they cannot restrict using them since there is no other product to replace them.

If every citizen disposes of a plastic bag once a day, over 30 billion plastic bags will be discharged nationwide every year, experts estimate.

A large number of plastic bags dumped each day flow into sewers and rivers, or merge into soil, greatly affecting the environment. (See: Awash in Plastic Bags, Ho Chi Minh City Tries A Tax)

In HCMC, on average, a traditional market uses 1,800 kilos of plastic bags every month, shopping centers 1,130 kilos per month and supermarkets nearly 9,000 kilos, according to the draft scheme.

Source: Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.