Ninh Binh says no to plastic bags hinh anh 1Banana leaves are used to wrap vegetables.
(Photo: VNA)

Ninh Binh (VNA) –
The northern province of Ninh Binh has moved to reduce the use of plastic bags as part of its efforts to protect the environment.

The provincial Farmers’ Union on July 8 labeled Song Van safe farm produce shop with “no use of plastic bag shopping point” to raise public awareness of the impact of single-use plastic products and plastic bags on the environment.

Chairman of the union Dinh Hong Thai said that many consumers have seen plastic bags as important invention of the mankind, and they have been popular among the community for years. However, the “white pollution” has cause critical influence to people’s health and the environment.

Under the province’s Plan No.61/KH-UBND on the campaign against plastic waste, the union has mobilised and convinced safe food chains in the locality to replace plastic bags and single-use products with environmentally-friendly ones like paper and cloth bags, and natural wrapping such as banana and lotus leaves.

In the coming time, the union will work more to promote the “say no to plastic bags” campaign so as to change the consumers’ habit to protect the environment.  

According to Nguyen Van Tien from the Song Van safe farm produce shop, his shop is now using available banana leaves instead of plastic bags to wrap vegetables and fruits. Natural wrapping helps raise the consumers’ curiosity while popularising the campaign among the locals, he said.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has pledged to rid single use plastic products by 2025, saying the country must take concrete measures to control plastic waste.
He has called on urban markets, convenience stores and supermarkets to stop using one-off plastic products by 2021, and he wants the whole country to follow suit over the next six years.

The PM has called on authorities to outline a series of measures to phase out the unnecessary use of plastic.

Launching a national campaign to prevent plastic waste in Hanoi last month, the PM said: "As many as 13 million tonnes of plastic trash are discharged into oceans each year, it has left negative impact on the living environment, people’s health and sustainable development of each nation.

"Rational mechanisms must be mapped out to cut and end the import of scraps and production of plastic bags that are hard to dissolve."

The Government leader said public awareness is key and called upon the press to spread the word about events like the one last month.

PM Phuc ordered the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and relevant ministries and agencies to work together to complete regulations and policies to scale down the use of single-use plastic products, encouraging the development of environmentally-friendly ones, and promoting the application of advanced technologies for plastic waste recycling. 

As for the local business community, the PM asked them to improve corporate social responsibility by joining efforts to combat plastic waste. Meanwhile, consumers were requested to carry their own bags for multiple use while shopping.

A number of supermarkets in Hanoi and HCM City have already pioneered to use banana leaves to wrap vegetables and meat instead of plastic bags.

Coffee shops and restaurants have also begun to use paper straws and food boxes made from sugarcane waste to replace plastic.

Vietnam is among the top 20 countries with the largest amount of waste, equal to the United States or Malaysia, and higher than the average level in the world.

Each year, about 8 million tonnes of plastic waste are disposed in the ocean, of which 1.8 million tonnes come from Vietnam. On average, each Vietnamese person releases 1.2 kg of solid waste into the environment per day, of which 16 per cent is plastic waste, according to the University of Georgia report.

The country aims to reduce 65 percent of non-biodegradable plastic bags used at supermarkets and shopping malls by 2020 compare to 2010. By 2026, it targets zero non-biodegradable plastic bags.-VNA