16:11 | 25/12/2013 Science - Technology
(VEN) - In order to restrict the use of plastic bags, Hanoi’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment continues to encourage people to use environmentally friendly bags.
Students are a major target of the campaign to restrict the use of plastic bags
Plastic bags have become familiar to people all over the world. In Vietnam, the use of plastic bags has boomed in recent decades, causing serious environmental pollution. Rough statistics showed that Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City alone discharged about 80 tonnes of plastic bags every day. These bags can take from 500-1,000 years to degrade. In particular, the manufacturing, recycling or disposal of these bags also generates harmful emissions, directly affecting human health.
Because of these issues, Hanoi People’s Committee and Department of Natural Resources and Environment launched the Stop Using Plastic Bags to Help the Environment campaign in 2009. In response to the campaign, many restaurants, supermarkets and local communities have boldly sought alternative products. Many businesses have invested in producing various kinds of environmentally friendly bags. The Hanoi Environmental Protection Fund also promoted awareness among local people about the harmful effects from using plastic bags.
After five years of implementation, the campaign has recorded positive results from rural to urban communities; from supermarkets and shopping centers to households in Hanoi. The Hanoi Environmental Protection Fund has collaborated with other agencies, organizations and businesses to hand out free nearly 100,000 environmentally friendly bags.
Recent survey results showed that about three percent of 5,000 people asked about plastic bag use were completely unaware of the related harmful effects, while 100 percent of the asked still used plastic bags in everyday activities. The major causes of the shortcomings mentioned previously included poor promotion to raise public awareness of the negative effects of plastic bag use and fairly high prices of environmentally friendly alternatives.
According to experts participating in the conference held by Hanoi’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment to conclude the five year implementation of the program on December 12, one of the most effective measures to restrict the use and gradual elimination of plastic bags was to reduce the cost of environmentally friendly alternatives, along with raising awareness among people about the harmful effects of plastic bags, while encouraging the use of environmentally friendly alternatives, and supporting the introduction of environmentally-friendly bags in shopping centers and supermarkets.
According to Director of Hanoi’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Trong Dong, the city should have incentives for businesses investing in the research and production of environmentally friendly bags, especially in terms of finance and tax; while applying higher taxation on plastic bag manufacturers.
It is expected that the initial successes of the campaign, along with positive participation of authorities, will help turn the campaign into a mass movement, contributing to making the city cleaner and more environmentally friendly./.