Several foreign countries recycle and reuse waste to protect the environment and save natural resources, but this has not received the attention it merits in Vietnam, environmental experts said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) revealed that the country discharges some 28.5 million tonnes of solid waste every year, as well as some 19 million tonnes of domestic solid waste.
Further, the volume of waste in urban areas across the country increases by 10 percent every year.

Hanoi alone discharges about 6,500 tonnes of domestic solid waste every day, whereas Ho Chi Minh City releases more than 7,000 tonnes of waste daily.

According to environmental experts, 50 to 70 percent of this waste can be recycled. However, only a limited amount of waste is recycled at present, even though sufficient funds are available for its transport and treatment. For instance, HCM City spends hundreds of billions of dong per year on treating waste.

Deputy Director of the Environment Department under the MONRE, Hoang Duong Tung, noted that some waste recycling systems had been set up, but their infrastructure and effectiveness could not keep up with the demand.

"Currently the most popular way of treating waste is by burying it," he added.

Incomplete statistics from the MONRE show that only some 120 of the more than 450 landfills in the country followed proper sanitary regulations, while the remaining 337 were substandard and caused environmental pollution.

"Burying waste is unsafe because it increases methane gas poisoning and requires a lot of land," Tung explained.

Looking towards 2050, a strategy on managing solid waste seeks to assure that all urban areas have solid waste recycling systems by 2025.

Moreover, the Law on Environmental Protection, which was approved by the National Assembly last year and brought into effect at the beginning of the year, stipulates that owners of enterprises that discharge waste are responsible for their recycling and reuse.

To better reuse waste, Tung suggested that policies be issued to encourage residents to collect and separate waste for recycling.

In addition, more investment should be made towards this end, and inspections should be carried out to monitor how waste is being treated.

Further, improved models on treating waste should be studied and implemented extensively, he emphasised.-VNA