Hurdles to microplastic pollution control in commodity products

13:00 | 26/04/2021 Environment

(VEN) - Vietnam has made a determined decision to deal with the explosion of plastic waste damaging its own and the global environment, adopting relevant laws and policies in recent years. However, lack of specific standards and regulations are creating difficulties in the management and enforcement of waste reduction and recycling.

Lack of standards, regulations

The Environmental Protection Law 2020 regulates the management of plastic and microplastic waste and stipulates producer responsibility for packaging, including plastic packaging. Under the provisions of the law, the government must prescribe a roadmap to limit the production and import of single-use plastic products, non-biodegradable plastic packaging and microplastic products and goods.

hurdles to microplastic pollution control in commodity products
Instruction 33/CT-TTg on strengthening the management, reuse, recycling, treatment and reduction of plastic waste was issued on August 20, 2020

On August 20, 2020, the Prime Minister issued Instruction 33/CT-TTg on strengthening the management, reuse, recycling, treatment and reduction of plastic waste. In addition, Decision 1746/QD-TTg introducing the national action plan for management of marine plastic litter by 2030 tasks authorities with strengthening control and management of discharge into water sources and taking measures to treat microplastics from wastewater in urban and industrial areas. It also assesses pollution risks and impacts of plastic waste, especially microplastics on the sea and ocean, marine ecosystems, the environment and human health.

However, according to Nguyen Trung Thang, Deputy Director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, despite these and other laws and instructions, the policy on management of plastics and microplastics is lacking.

According to Thang, Vietnam lacks regulations on reducing waste from disposable plastic products. In addition, the management of nylon bag production and use is encountering many hurdles, and eco-friendly plastic bags cannot compete with the convenience and cost of regular plastic bags. The recall of discarded products prescribed in Decision 16/QD-TTg has not been implemented.

Product composition and enforcement

Yet another problem stems from the fact that the microplastic composition is not stipulated in setting out maximum permissible values of pollution parameters in environmental and wastewater treatment. Moreover, regulations for microplastics in cosmetics, detergents, paints and other products are not clear. There are no in these products and goods.

In order to manage microplastic pollution in Vietnam effectively, it is necessary to complete the legal policy on plastic and microplastic waste management as quickly as possible. Firstly, it is necessary to develop and promulgate documents guiding the Environmental Protection Law 2020 on plastic waste management and microplastic pollution control, as well as integrate the content of circular economy development, plastic waste management and microplastic pollution control in development strategies, Thang said.

In addition, public awareness of the problem must be raised in order to influence behavior and minimize the disposal of plastic and microplastic wastes into the environment. Research and application of technologies in plastic and microplastic waste management and in the production of bio-plastic materials and environmentally friendly products are also vital. Last but not least, international cooperation on the management of plastics and microplastics must be expanded, and enforcement of compliance with legal policies on plastic and microplastic waste management through inspection, examination and supervision must be tightened.

Thu Huong