Plastic waste management policies need improvement: seminar hinh anh 1The volume of plastic waste released by human each year, including 13 million tonnes dumped into seas, is enough to cover the earth’s surface four times (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – A seminar in Hanoi on June 10 highlighted the fact that existing policies and laws on plastic waste management have yet to match this type of waste’s impacts on the environment and human health.

The event was held by the legal affairs department of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

It was part of the MarPlastics project, which detects policy and knowledge loopholes, seeks effective solutions and propose policies to minimise marine plastic pollution.

Director of the MoNRE’s legal affairs department Phan Tuan Hung said plastic waste is a global environmental problem, attracting great attention of the international community. Each year, the volume of plastic waste released by human, including 13 million tonnes dumped at sea, is enough to cover the earth’s surface four times. Plastic waste is negatively affecting the environment and human health.

According to international organisations, Vietnam emits about 1.8 million tonnes of plastic every year, standing 17th among 109 countries in terms of the plastic waste volume released. Of that amount, some 730,000 tonnes are released to the oceans, accounting for some 6 percent of the world’s plastic volume dumped at sea. That has made the country the fourth biggest polluter of ocean plastic waste.

[Video: Living sustainably – a new green trend]

Hung noted it is very easy to see such key words as “plastic waste” and “fight plastic waste” on mass media and the internet at present. It shows that public awareness of plastic waste in Vietnam has been improved considerably.

Many anti-plastic movements and initiatives have been launched. Several supermarkets have said no to plastic bags and replace them with environmentally friendly materials. A number of restaurants and coffee shops have also eliminated single-use plastic products.

However, the official said, there remains much that needs to be done in terms of plastic waste management policies. Plastic is currently managed in the way other types of waste are, and there haven’t been particular regulations on plastic waste management, except for some on taxes for plastic bags.

Existing policies and laws on plastic waste management have yet to be on par with its impacts on the environment and human health, as well as public attention to this issue. Therefore, it is necessary to step up making policies and laws on this field in the time ahead, Hung said.

He underlined that those policies and laws should manage according to the lifecycle of plastics, from design, production, packaging and consumption to emission, collection, treatment and recycling.

Aside from economic tools like taxes and fees on plastic products, it is also a need to combine different policy tools, including setting technical standards, supporting the recycling of environmentally friendly plastic products, and promoting producers and importers’ sense of responsibility, he added.-VNA