Ocean plastic waste pollution is getting ‘hot’

At the International Conference on “Sustainable Ocean Economy and Adaptation to Climate Change” taking place today (May 13), the issue of ocean plastic waste pollution is of particular concern to experts.

According to Dr. Nguyen Le Tuan, Director of the Institute for Sea and Island Research, marine pollution caused by plastic waste has become a global environmental problem, recognized by national governments, international organizations, scientists and people around the world care. Plastic waste is one of the biggest threats to the world’s oceans, has been destroying economic and social activities in the seas and coasts, such as tourism, resorts, fisheries and transportation. communication, environment, biodiversity and marine fish resources, human health and safety…

The report on the state of the national marine and island environment for the period 2016 – 2020 published by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in 2021 has shown that the plastic consumption index per capita in Vietnam has increased rapidly from 3.8 kg/ year/person in 1990, increasing to 54 kg/year/person in 2018, of which 37.43% of products are packaging and 29.26% are household appliances. The indiscriminate dumping of plastic waste and a large amount of waste from the ocean washing up on islands and beaches, especially during the tourist season, is an alarming problem in coastal areas and islands.

Ocean plastic waste pollution is getting 'hot' - 1

The international conference on “Sustainable ocean economy and climate change adaptation” took place today (May 13).

In the context that plastic pollution has become a national and global crisis, the Government of Vietnam calls for the participation of ministries, sectors, domestic and foreign organizations, the private sector and community against plastic pollution. The Vietnamese government has many practical activities in the fight against waste, especially ocean plastic waste.

Specifically, in 2017, Vietnam officially joined the list of 127 countries that passed the United Nations Environment Council Resolution of the United Nations Environment Program on plastic waste and ocean microplastics.

In 2018, at the G7 Summit held in Canada, the Prime Minister pledged to act as well as call for global cooperation in solving the problem of marine plastic waste.

In 2019, the Prime Minister approved Decision No. 1746/QD-TTg on promulgating the National Action Plan on ocean plastic waste management until 2030, then launched a movement against plastic waste worldwide. Nationally, many agencies, organizations, localities, businesses and individuals have taken many practical, meaningful and effective actions to combat and reduce plastic waste.

In 2020, Vietnam actively and actively participates in bilateral and multilateral dialogues with the governments of other countries, discussing optimal solutions and building potential mechanisms to strengthen international cooperation in the field of law. tackle ocean plastic pollution.

In 2021, the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 1407/QD-TTg approving the project that Vietnam actively prepares and participates in the development of a Global Agreement on Ocean Plastic Pollution.

According to statistics, currently the network of partners and stakeholders on the issue of waste and plastic waste has more than 70 projects and programs… implemented in 19/28 coastal provinces and island districts. Thereby, promoting participation and connecting cooperation opportunities, and at the same time demonstrating Vietnam’s radical views and strong commitments to solving the global plastic pollution problem.

It is worth mentioning that despite the legal regulations and initiatives, the management of plastic and plastic waste has been applied and a number of regions and countries have contributed to solving the problem of waste. ocean plastic waste. However, the amount of plastic waste continues to increase worldwide, thus remaining within the current framework that hinders effective control of ocean plastic waste.

Dr. Nguyen Le Tuan points out specific points such as: Some limitations in existing international instruments to tackle plastic waste, including insufficient coverage of the main sources of plastic pollution, exemptions and lack of enforcement standards. The lack of enforcement standards can be found in the terminology used in legal instruments. This leaves restrictions for each country because of different legal systems, circumstances and environmental capacities.

Second, there are legal differences and lack of enforcement and effectiveness of regulations and management measures. The implementation and enforcement of regulations and management measures at the national level is a key factor in effectively addressing ocean plastic waste. However, some cases show that international initiatives have not yet been translated into national management plans or that there are countries and territories that lack the ability to enforce, inadequate implementation, fines. insufficient deterrence against violators, or lack of clarity in regulations leading to disparities in public perception. All of these are major challenges for the effective control of marine pollution caused by plastic waste.

Third, ineffective cooperation and inadequate participation of countries in regional and international initiatives. In fact, there are many regional and international initiatives today and these initiatives provide a basis for cooperation and coordination on marine litter issues, but in some cases show that there is still a problem. There is a lack of national financing mechanisms in efforts to tackle plastic pollution and country participation in these initiatives is incomplete and non-binding. This will leave gaps in global and regional efforts to tackle ocean plastic pollution, and the fact that ocean plastic pollution is a transboundary problem.

Fourth, there is a lack of a common reporting, monitoring and evaluation mechanism on plastic pollution. Despite existing anti-plastic waste programs, data on the status and distribution of plastic waste in the marine environment as well as its impacts on the marine environment and human health are still incomplete. These shortcomings hinder the ability to prioritize and reduce efforts and evaluate the effectiveness of implemented measures.

Fifth, not realizing the global nature of plastic and ocean plastic waste requires a global approach. The life cycle of plastic begins with production, trade, consumption Plastic waste management is on a global scale. Each country has different regulations and standards for handling plastic and plastic waste according to the specific legal conditions and characteristics of that country or region. This leads to the fact that the production, consumption, trade and management of plastic waste and plastic waste recovery are still inadequate and unsustainable from a global perspective.

Since 2019 until now, all of humanity has been and will have to struggle with the global COVID-19 pandemic, increasing pressure on this already out-of-control ocean plastic waste problem. Medical waste from the COVID-19 pandemic is threatening human health and the environment, leading to an urgent need to improve medical waste management practices.

Deputy Director General of the General Department of Seas and Islands of Vietnam, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam, Ms. Pham Thu Hang also affirmed: The sea and ocean are an extremely important source of life and living space for people and is the foundation for sustainable development. However, the sea and ocean today are facing many serious problems, the most typical is garbage pollution, which accounts for a large proportion and takes the longest to decompose, which is plastic waste.

Ocean plastic waste is not only a big and complex problem in terms of scale and scope, but also in terms of knowledge, understanding, as well as the generation, distribution, and transformation processes, especially the impacts of oceans. plastic waste to socio-economic activities, the environment, marine ecosystems and human health.

Plastic pollution, especially ocean plastic pollution, has become an urgent problem at the national, regional and global scale. Reducing plastic waste has become an imperative right now.

Ms. Hang also said that the problem of plastic waste pollution and ocean plastic waste in Vietnam in recent years has been paid special attention and efforts to solve by the Government through fundamental innovation in policies and legislation. legislation on environmental protection and by practical actions, such as: Passing the revised Law on Environmental Protection, which legislates contents related to plastic waste such as management, reuse, and recycling. processing, processing and model development economy plastic circulation; Promulgating the National Action Plan on ocean plastic waste management to 2030; Implementation of the Project Vietnam actively prepares and participates in the development of the Global Agreement on Ocean Plastic Pollution.

Therefore, according to Ms. Hang, it is necessary to soon come up with specific solutions, roadmaps and actions to achieve a real result, which is the Global Agreement on solving the problem of plastic waste. Build a financial mechanism, support technology transfer to solve the problem of plastic waste on land and in the sea.

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