Vietnam has to deal with a series of environmental protection challenges, particularly the management of solid waste due to increased urbanisation and industrialisation.

Estimates say that approximately 29 million tonnes of solid waste will need to be treated annually in Vietnam by 2015, reaching nearly 40 million tonnes by 2020.
The total volume of solid waste currently amounts to 28.4 million tonnes a year, with 81 percent being household waste and 19 percent being industrial and hazardous waste.

By June this year, 46 out of 63 localities nationwide developed their own master plans for solid waste management. By the end of this year, 90 percent of localities are expected to submit their plans. In particular, each locality has included solid waste management in the plans for new buildings constructed as part of rural housing developments.

Approximately 31,500 tonnes of solid waste are produced in urban areas each day, 84 percent of which is being collected for treatment. This means that the target collection rate of 85 percent set forth in the National Solid Waste Management Strategy for 2015 will be met.

According to Nguyen Hong Tien, Director of the Ministry of Construction’s Technical Infrastructure Agency, many private businesses have emerged in recent years to collect and treat solid waste in urban zones, in addition to the State-run collection services.

However, in rural areas, where more than 31,500 tonnes of solid waste are generated per day, only 40-55 percent is collected.

At present, three methods are used to treat solid waste in cities, namely landfills, microbial fertilizer production and incineration.

Initial statistics show there are around 458 landfills covering a total area of more than 1,81ha throughout the country. However, only 121 of these meet the sanitation requirements. These sub-standard landfills have negative impacts on the environment and landscape.

To address the bad conditions of some landfills and to improve the management of solid waste, the Government issued new legislation and put incentives in place to attract investments in the development and application of waste treatment technologies.

As many as 26 solid waste treatment plants with a total capacity of 6,000 tonnes per day are operated in several cities. A number of waste treatment facilities are currently being built and are expected to become operational soon.

Hideki Wada from the Japan International Cooperation Agency said it is necessary to conduct field visits to landfills throughout Vietnam to promote suitable solid waste treatment methods, adding that the Government should encourage the public to get involved.-VNA