|Trash are seen along the coast in the south of Phước Diêm Commune, Thuận Nam District in central province of Ninh Thuận. — VNA/VNS Photo|
The signatories include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, the European Union, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as 16 UN agencies, funds, programmes, offices and World Bank.
By signing the code of conduct, the international partners have committed to assessing their current office practices related to single-use plastic and instituting operational changes to minimise their plastic waste footprint. All the signatories agreed to engage their staff in reducing plastic waste and encourage their partners to adopt low- or no-plastic waste-emitting options.
Through this joint action, international partners in Việt Nam seek to act as change agents in reducing plastic pollution and raising awareness about its negative effects on humans, animals and the environment.
The campaign, spearheaded by the Embassy of Canada in Việt Nam, seeks to raise awareness on the negative impacts of plastic pollution while advocating changes at the behavioural, institutional and policy levels to reduce the amount of plastic waste generated in Việt Nam.
Ping Kitnikone, ambassador of Canada to Việt Nam, said as international partners, they had the privilege to work in Việt Nam and had a collective responsibility to reduce their plastic footprint in the beautiful country and preserve its environment for future generations.
Deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment Lê Công Thành said Việt Nam appreciated the actions of the international partners to join the country in combating plastic pollution.
Việt Nam has been making efforts in this regard; for example, bettering its capacity in sorting, collecting and treating plastic waste and improving public awareness on plastic use, Thành said.
The signing ceremony was the highlight of the Plastic Pollution Advocacy Campaign, which is a joint campaign involving embassies and international partners working in support of Việt Nam’s sustainable development.
For the past few months, 22 embassies and international partners have been actively engaged in this multi pronged campaign. Another key element of the campaign has been constructive dialogue with Vietnamese leaders to discuss policy options that will have long-term positive effects on plastic pollution in Việt Nam.
In addition to this, an online campaign, #CountdownPlastic, has been running on the social media platforms of the Code of Conduct signatories to call for public action on reducing single-use plastic in people’s daily lives and at workplaces.
Some 300 million tonnes of plastic are reportedly produced around the world every year, half of which are used to produce single-use items, such as shopping bags, bottles, cups and straws. One million plastic bags are used around the world every minute.
Việt Nam is among the top five source countries for the eight million tonnes of plastic dumped into the world’s oceans every year.
Plastic waste slowly degrades over time and breaks into smaller pieces called micro-plastic, which usually end up in the oceans and from there, potentially enter the food chain.
According to a report launched at the World Economic Forum 2016, in a business-as-usual scenario, the world’s oceans could contain one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish (by weight). — VNS