At the 54th session of the sixth Global Environment Facility Assembly (GEF 6) in the central city of Da Nang. (Source: VNA)

Da Nang (VNA) – Vietnam will join global efforts to stop the production and use of single-use and non-recyclable plastic products, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha told Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Erik Solheim.

Their meeting took place on June 26 on the sidelines of the sixth Global Environment Facility Assembly (GEF 6) in the central city of Da Nang.

Vietnam will promptly issue financial regulations on plastic bags as many countries worldwide have imposed tariffs on the products, helping to reduce 90 percent of the usage, Ha said.

The minister thanked cooperation and support of the UNEP as well as the Executive Director for Vietnam and his ministry in particular over the past time.

The UNEP has helped Vietnam with technologies and consultants in building environmental laws and policies, provided scholarships for Vietnamese environmental workers, and assisted the country in environmental projects and programmes, he said.

For his part, Erik Solheim said contents of his discussion with the minister will be added to the list of the UNEP’s activities during the GEF 6.

He also spoke of the Kigali Amendment to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) adopted by member countries in October 2016.

The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2019, provided that it is ratified by at least 20 member states of the Montreal Protocol. To date, 38 countries have approved the document, according to Erik Solheim.

During the meeting, the two sides compared notes on maritime waste in the context that maritime plastic waste is a global issue.

Ha said Vietnam has the responsibility for joining the world to address the challenge.

A recent international survey revealing that Vietnam is one of the five countries in the world discharging the most plastic waste, with about 1.8 million tonnes dumped each year. 

According to earthday.org, 8.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s. The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. 91 percent of plastic waste isn’t recycled. And since most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, all that plastic waste could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.

Of note, 8 million metric tonnes of plastic winds up in the oceans each year. That’s enough trash to cover every foot of coastline around the world with five full trash bags of plastic compounding every year. -VNA