Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to reduce the use of plastic bags in the country as part of efforts to protect the environment.

Under the plan, by 2020, the quantity of plastic bags used at supermarkets and trade centres will be reduced by 60 percent against 2010 and by 50 percent at traditional markets.

The plan targets the collection and recycling of 50 percent of plastic bags that are thrown away every day by 2020.

To meet the targets, several campaigns will be carried out to raise public awareness about the impact of plastic bags on the environment.

Households, traditional markets, supermarkets and trade centres will be encouraged to use environmentally-friendly bags, the production of which will receive considerable policy support.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has been tasked with implementing the plan in cooperation with relevant ministries, sectors, provinces and cities.

HCM City launched its sixth Waste Recycling Festival last weekend, attracting thousands of people.

The annual event aims to raise public awareness of environmental protection and encourage environmentally-friendly actions.

It encourages schools and students to reduce, reuse and recycle waste as much as possible.

The event, organised by the city's Department of Natural Resources and Environment, included the popular exchange-waste-for-gifts programme.

If waste is used reasonably, it can become a resource, said Nguyen Van Phuoc, deputy head of the department.

Waste recycling helps reduce the use of resources and results in the production of useful products, he said.

The festival displayed activities of classifying, reusing and recycling wastes as well as using environmental friendly products in more than 30 stalls.

Up to 60 percent of waste thrown into rubbish bins can be recycled, experts said at the event.

More than 50 percent of household waste can be used to produce compost fertiliser, they said.

HCM City produces more than 7,000 tonnes of waste a day.-VNA