A “Day without Plastic Bags – The Nature Day” was launched in Hoi An ancient town, Quang Nam province, on Sept. 9 to appeal to both local residents and tourists.

The event, the first of its kind in Vietnam --and the world--is a joint initiative of the Centre for Support of Combating Climate Change and the Science and Life newspaper and will be organised annually.

It aims to raise awareness among the community of the adverse impacts of plastic bags on human health and the environment and encourage people to kick the plastic-bag-free habit.

The event, with the support from Vietnamese ministries, agencies, the Finish Embassy and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), includes activities to encourage a plastic-bag-free lifestyle and urge agencies, families and individuals not to use the bags.

During the day, 100 stores on Le Loi street committed not to use plastic bags, their customers were encouraged to bring along bags of their own as well as being or provided with environmentally-friendly bags for free.

The organising board also coordinated the collection and exchange of plastic bags for environmentally-friendly bags, made of sedge (a natural fibre) or paper. A bicycle parade was also organised with the participation of volunteers, students and tourists as well.

In addition, a gala was held in the evening to award individuals and groups who took an active part in the event.

At the end of the day, Hoi An collected more than 80,000 waste plastic bags.

Thanks to the event, Hoi An will contribute to improving the environment, phasing out the use of plastic bags and creating conditions for restoring the locality’s traditional sedge handicraft village, said Truong Van Bay, Vice Chairman of Hoi An People’s Committee.

According to the organising board, the Day without Plastic Bags – The Nature Day will be expanded nationwide and to other countries, each September 9, in following years./.