Attending the workshop were representatives from the Directorate of Fisheries, Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and some international organizations, research institutes, experts and scientists in the environment field.
Currently, marine plastic waste pollution is one of the most serious and urgent environmental problems in the world. According to the 2018’s report of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), every year the world produces 400 million tons of plastic. However, 79% of the plastic waste is discharged into landfills, 12% is burned in the kilns garbage and only 9% is recycled. With current plastic consumption and poor plastic waste management, it is expected that 12 billion tons of plastic waste worldwide will be disposed of in landfills and into the natural environment by 2050. Plastic waste is causing negative effects on the health of marine life, it is estimated that 99% of seabirds will eat plastic by 2050. Plastic waste will endanger more than 600 species of marine animals and 15% among them are in danger of being caught in plastic waste or affecting the digestive tract. Sea turtles pose a significant risk of ingesting plastic debris at all stages of their life cycle with potentially fatal consequences. CSIRO (2019) found that when a turtle has 14 plastic debris in its gut, it has a 50% chance that it will die. However, it doesn't mean a tortoise won't die if they consume less than 14 plastic pieces.
Vietnam is one of the countries with a large amount of plastic waste discharged into the sea in the world. Especially, the fisheries sector is one of the industries that use many tools which are made of plastic materials to serve in the process for the production, farming, exploitation, processing and export of seafood. Many tool are discharged directly into the marine environment after being used and have not yet been recycled. This will big affect the sustainable development of the industry in the coming time. Recognizing the serious risk of plastic waste to the environment in general and marine species in particular, many legal documents of the Government, ministries, agencies and provinces have been issued over the past time to manage plastic waste. The Government has assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to develop a national action plan on reducing marine plastic waste by 2030. Many coastal provinces and cities have included the issue of plastic pollution and waste treatment in local socio-economic development plans. However, Vietnam does not have national data to classify sources of plastic pollution from land or sea, and there is no research or comprehensive information on the amount of plastic waste in marine areas, a particular amount of plastic waste is produced by industry or by manufacturing activities.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung - Director General of the Department of Science, Technology and International Cooperation - Directorate of Fisheries said that the Directorate of Fisheries was assigned as the focal point to develop action plan for ocean plastic waste management in the period of 2020-2030. This is an urgent task deciding the sustainable development of the industry in the coming time.
She also expressed that in order to develop the action plan in an effective way, with an overview and an effective approach to marine plastic waste management for the fisheries sector, the Directorate of Fisheries is drafting a survey toolkit through questionnaires based on a set of criteria to survey subjects, industries, manufacturing, processing and exporting sectors. In which, the subjects directly interviewed are the people, the local management, fishing port management board, etc.
According to information at the workshop, a number of international organizations are currently supporting a number of small research projects related to plastic waste in several provinces/cities in Vietnam. However, this is one of the small and independent studies that has not yet reflected an overview of the problem of plastic waste management in Vietnam. Therefore, the participants said that it is necessary to have a common action plan of a sector or field for research and evaluation in a more general way on the scientific basis.
At the workshop, Dr. Hoang Xuan Co - Leader of the consultant group briefly introduced the consulting work and research approach. It is a value chain approach that is based on two streams of waste: the waste that is generated at the site of production, farming, and processing, and the waste that is disposed of through the consumption of the product can be consumed. consumption domestically or through export.
GS. Dr. Hoang Xuan Co also shared about the proposed plastic waste management research tool approach relates to the mining and farming sector. In particular, the farming industry concentrates two main objects: shrimp and Tra fish. For the field of exploitation, approach according to fishing industry, fishing grounds to determine the level and volume of plastic waste discharged.
Discussing at the seminar, TS. Pham Anh Tuan has posed problems related to minimizing plastic waste: (1) may it replace plastic goods already used by individuals and manufacturing businesses in agriculture, mining or plastic materials? (2) Is it possible to extend the life of marine food processing plants or the recycling of plastic items in order to reduce the amount of waste disposal tools and nets?
There should be have a policy for minimizing plastic waste, policies for collecting and encouraging plastic waste recycling. Along with that, it is the need to raise human awareness about minimizing plastic waste, as well as have sanctions to handle violations.
Furthermore, delegates shared international experiences that can help Vietnam in the current plastic waste management problem at the workshop.
Le Mai (theo tongcucthuysan.gov.vn)