Norway-funded project to help turn ocean plastic into development chances hinh anh 1Environmental workers sort waste on a beach of Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh province (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA) – A project funded by the Norwegian Government made debut at a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 4, aiming to help Vietnam turn plastic wastes from the oceans into chances in a circular economy.

Vietnam is one of the five Asian countries to benefit from the “Ocean Plastic Turned into an Opportunity in Circular Economy” (OPTOCE) project, apart from China, India, Myanmar and Thailand.

This project will connect with the countries’ management agencies on natural resources and environment, which are the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and its provincial-level departments in Vietnam, to promote public – private partnership in collecting waste and using it as materials to generate energy for cement factories.

Statistics show that these five countries have a combined population of 3 billion, about 1 billion of whom reside near rivers, lakes or seas and release about 176,000 tonnes of plastic waste each day, equivalent to 64 million tonnes annually.

Besides, some industries like cement, steel and electricity are consuming a huge amount of coal and emit more than 30 percent of the CO2 volume around the world.

The OPTOCE project is set to replace this coal amount with unrecyclable plastic waste, thus creating a solution to threats posed by plastic and greenhouse gas emission.

According to Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam Grete Lochen, the oceans are increasingly polluted, and 80 percent of marine debris comes from land-based sources. Ocean plastic waste has become a global issue, including in Vietnam.

The project is an international action key to addressing the biggest sources of plastic litter in the oceans, she noted.

The pilot phase of this project is scheduled to begin in late 2019./.