Pollution from Ocean Plastic Waste (OPW) is one of the most serious and urgent environmental issues on the global scale today. According to statistics, research from experts shows that 80% of OPW are from land. Vietnam is one of the countries with the highest amount of plastic waste discharged into the sea in the world. According to experts' research, the volume of plastic waste from Vietnam to the sea fluctuates from 0.28 to 0.73 million tons per year and ranked 4th among the 20 highest countries (according to a research by Dr. Jenna Jamback, 2015). Recognizing the serious risk of OPW to the socio-economic environment in general and marine species in particular, many legal documents have been issued. Many coastal provinces and cities have also included the issue of pollution and OPW treatment in their local socio-economic development plan. In fact, at present, Vietnam does not have national data to identify sources of plastic emissions from land or sea and no quantitative research or statistics on the amount of plastic waste in coastal areas, there are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which are the most seriously areas affected by pollution from marine waste.
However, the management of OPW is a big challenge for Vietnam in the context of increasing disposable plastic habit and limited solid waste management capacity. In addition, the propaganda for people who change the habit of using plastic products, discharging plastic waste not in accordance with the regulations has not achieved the desired results.
Despite many challenges, Vietnam is making efforts to minimize OPW with very high goals. Vietnam's determination is expressed in Resolution No. 36-NQ/TW of the 12th Party Central Committee on "Strategies for sustainable development of Vietnam's marine economy by 2030, with a vision to 2045", which aims to prevent, control and significantly reduce pollution of the marine environment; regional leader in minimizing ocean plastic waste.
Recently, the Prime Minister issued a national action plan under Decision No. 1746/QD-TTg dated December 4th, 2019 on the management of ocean plastic waste by 2030. Accordingly, specific targets include the following:
The goal is to reduce plastic waste at sea and ocean by 50%; 50% of lost or discarded fishing gear is collected; 80% of tourist areas, destinations, tourist accommodation service establishments and other tourist services in coastal areas do not use disposable plastic products and plastic bags that are difficult to decompose; ensure at least twice a year to launch a campaign to collect and clean beaches across the country; 80% of marine protected areas are free of plastic waste.
Carrying out annual and regular monitoring every 5 years to assess the current status of ocean plastic waste in some estuaries of 5 major river in the North, North Central, Central, South Central, South and the islands have potential to develop tourism in 12 island districts.
By 2030, reduce 75% of plastic waste on the sea and oceans; 100% of lost or discarded fishing gear is collected; Stop throwing away fishing gear directly into the sea; 100% of tourist areas, destinations, tourist accommodation service providers and other tourist services in coastal areas will not use disposable plastic products and plastic bags that are difficult to decompose; 100% of marine protected areas are free of plastic waste. Expansion of annual and regular monitoring every 5 years to assess the status of ocean plastic waste in some estuaries of 11 main river basins and in 12 island districts.
A number of tasks and solutions have been proposed to address OPW, focusing on some solutions as: Positive collection, classification, storage, transport and waste treatment, plastic waste from activities in coastal areas and at sea; Propagate for organizations and individuals to increase recycling and reuse of plastic waste; Control plastic waste from sources, international cooperation, scientific research, application, development, technology transfer of waste treatment of ocean plastic, etc.