From macaques to crabs, wildlife faces threat from face masks

12 Jan 2021 11:50AM(Updated: 12 Jan 2021 11:58AM) CNA

KUALA LUMPUR: Masks that helped save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic are proving a deadly hazard for wildlife, with birds and marine creatures ensnared in the staggering number of discarded facial coverings littering animal habitats.

Tiếp tục đọc “From macaques to crabs, wildlife faces threat from face masks”

What are Vietnam’s options for dealing with plastic waste?

By Viet Anh    January 5, 2021 | 11:54 am GMT+7 vnexpressWhat are Vietnam's options for dealing with plastic waste?Plastic waste at a private collecting site in Go Vap District, HCMC, August 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.Vietnam should set up legal framework for recycling plastic waste, reduce plastic use and find new materials to replace non-recyclable plastics, according to experts.

“The best solution would be recycling as much plastic waste as you can,” George Huber, professor of chemical and biological engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, the U.S., said when asked about possible options for Vietnam.

In the U.S., there are hundreds of material recovery facilities (MRFs) where people can leave everything that can be recycled, he said.

Either workers or robots sort the materials, including plastic, and palletize them and they are later sold to secondary recycling people who do further sorting and turn them into pellets.

There is a whole market for these pellets for making new products.

For instance, there is a company called Placon that produces food and medical packaging and other types of plastic from MRFs.

They buy recycled PET bottles and thermoform them, thus keeping over one billion PET bottles out of landfills each year.

Huber said: “This is called closed-loop recycling. They produce the ecostar plastic which is a recycled plastic.”

Technologies used by companies like Placon are pretty similar, usually involving floating. They put plastics in water, and some float while others sink. They then purify the floating plastic and grind it to make pellets. There are many things that can be made from recycled plastic.

Highlighting another good recycling model, Professor Michael Braungart, founder of Internationale Umweltforschung GmbH, an environmental research institution based in Hamburg, Germany, said the U.S.’s Envision Plastics is the only company in the world that makes polypropylene approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for making food-grade packaging.

In Italy, a company called Aquafil has reprocessed around 15,000 tons of nylon from driftnets in oceans to make clothing, carpets and other products, he said.

Associate Professor Duong Hai Minh of the department of mechanical engineering, National University of Singapore, said Vietnam could consider the option of converting plastic waste into aerogels, which are used in billion-dollar engineering applications such as heat and sound insulation, oil spill cleaning, fruit preservation, air pollution filtering, personal care products, and wastewater treatment.

He said this is a cost-effective and eco-friendly method since no toxic solvent is used or discharged into the environment, and it requires 70 percent less energy.

Aerogels can be reused and recycled.

Moreover, the technology can also be used on a range of wastes like paper, old clothes, rubber tires, fly ash, metal, and agricultural and food wastes.

For the first time aerogels have been made from PET, the same plastic used to make water and soft drink bottles.

“The technology might be available in April 2021,” Minh said.

He said there are various options for Vietnam for dealing with plastic that are used in Singapore such as incinerating or converting it into low-value products (chair, bag, umbrella, etc).

In incineration plants, waste is burned and the smoke quality is controlled to ensure it does not damage the air quality. The ash is used in construction as a less toxic option.

Huber said some plastics like pure PET and pure PE could be recycled but most could not, and there are also losses in the plastic recycling process. So any plastic recycling needs to be combined with long-term plans to deal with plastic wastes like incineration and landfills (where minimal leakage occurs), he said.

When incinerating, heat and energy could be recovered, then plastic does not leak into the environment and could be controlled in one location, he said.

There are companies in the U.S. burning plastic waste to generate electricity and heat and generating small volumes of ash that eventually go into landfills, he said.

“I think landfilling should be the less preferred option.”

Professor Carl Redshaw of the University of Hull, the U.K., said a number of technologies are being trialed for converting plastic waste into high-value useful products.

For instance, radiation-induced degradation, microbes, metal-based nanoparticles, and activated carbon could all turn waste into liquid fuel, pyrolysis (thermal degradation) could turn plastics into energy while the use of photo-catalysis (use of light to drive a reaction) has shown that even non-degradable plastics such as polyethylene could be converted into other useful materials, he said.

A recent report in a scientific journal illustrated how discarded drinking cups could be converted into other useful chemicals though most of these technologies are at an embryonic stage and require more investment, he added.

How to apply in Vietnam

Huber said the first step for Vietnam to recycle plastic wastes is to be able to sort them depending on their original components. Some would have to go to landfills or be burned, while the infrastructure to collect waste plastics has to be developed, he said.

If the country wants to have a similar system as the U.S., it needs to have secondary recyclers who could turn plastic into pellets and make products from them, he pointed out.

But all these involve a very large initial cost, and it takes five to eight years to recoup it before the operation becomes profitable, he said.

The legal framework is crucial, he said.

In the U.S., many material recovery facilities are owned by municipalities and states make laws. It is illegal to send certain kinds of plastics to landfills.

As for the burning option, Huber said companies need to have air pollution control equipment to make sure the smoke does not have any dangerous chemicals.

It is important that these facilities are designed in a way to minimize air pollution, he said.

In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency sets regulations.

Rules to prevent air pollution are vital, especially in developing countries, Huber said.

Dr Alex Ibhadon, reader in catalysis and reactor engineering, University of Hull, the U.K., said society needs plastics to create products and jobs.

Southeast Asia in general is producing more and more plastics while Europe is producing less and less, and it is not easy for Vietnam to close thousands of companies in the plastic industry, he pointed out.

Vietnamese people should reuse over and over again the plastics they already have, he said.

In the U.K., supermarkets need to produce reusable carrier bags and some charge customers for carrier bags as an encouragement to re-use, something Vietnam as a country could learn from, he said.

Experts said another way to reduce the plastics is by using new materials.

Braungart said Vietnam could learn from Novamont, an Italian company that makes plastics from starch for single use that easily degrades and is good for the environment.

It makes bioplastics from starches, cellulose, vegetable oils, and their combinations, and ideally Vietnam should decide that all the plastics ending up in the environment needs to be biodegradable, he said.

Redshaw said he and his colleagues produce polymers from renewable resources such as corn starch.

He said there are now a number of biodegradable polymers on the market like Sigma Aldrich’s poly (lactide), poly (glycolide) and their copolymers, and a number of biodegradable natural polymers.

A number of U.K. small enterprises have ongoing projects that they hope to bring to the market soon, he said.

“No doubt companies in countries such as Vietnam are thinking along these lines too.”

Vietnam needs to offer large incentives to entice the industrial sector, specifically the producers of petroleum-derived plastics, to invest in infrastructure that would allow them to make the switch to some of the greener alternatives, he said.

There is also a need to change people’s mindset on how to use plastic, and this could be achieved by good communication and having efficient protocols in place, he said.

Emphasizing the significance of the legal framework, Dr Ibhadon said the Vietnamese government should have a policy that makes plastic recycling a legally enforceable requirement and set up recycling centers throughout the country for various types of plastics.

It must take the lead in reducing plastic use and enforce recycling as a partnership between itself, plastic producers and consumers, he added.

How to transform systems: The World Resources Institute Q&A with Andrew Steer

Mongabay.com

  • Between the pandemic, rising food insecurity and poverty, and catastrophic disasters like wildfires, storms and droughts, 2020 was a year of challenges that prompted widespread calls for systemic change in how we interact with one another, with other species, and with the environment. Bringing about such changes will require transforming how we produce food and energy, how we move from one place to another, and how we define economic growth.
  • But it’s a lot easier to talk about transforming systems than to actually do it. Because real change is hard, we’re more likely to slip back into old habits and return to business as usual than embrace paradigm shifts.
  • Recognizing this limitation, World Resources Institute (WRI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization that operates in 60 countries, works across sectors by creating tools that increase transparency, create a common understanding, and provide data and analysis that enable action.
  • WRI’s development of these platforms and tools has grown by leaps and bounds since the early 2010s when Andrew Steer joined the organization as president and CEO from the World Bank. Steer spoke with Mongabay during a December 2020 interview.

Between the pandemic, rising food insecurity and poverty, and catastrophic disasters like wildfires, storms and droughts, 2020 was a year of challenges that prompted widespread calls for systemic change in how we interact with one another, with other species, and with the environment. Bringing about such changes will require transforming how we produce food and energy, how we move from one place to another, and how we define economic growth. But it’s a lot easier to talk about transforming systems than to actually do it. Because real change is hard, we’re more likely to slip back into old habits and return to business as usual than embrace paradigm shifts. Tiếp tục đọc “How to transform systems: The World Resources Institute Q&A with Andrew Steer”

Đông Nam Á đối phó với bãi đổ rác khi Trung Quốc thực thi lệnh cấm nhập khẩu rác thải

English: Southeast Asia braces for trash dump as China enacts waste import ban

Kể từ ngày 1/1/2021, Trung Quốc  sẽ  không còn chấp nhận chất thải đến từ nước khác, đối với Việt Nam, Thái Lan và Indonesia có thể sẽ cảm thấy đây là gánh nặng từ chính sách mới

Mặc dù ba quốc gia này đã thực hiện nhiều biện pháp để đối phó với rác thải nhưng do còn nhiều tham nhũng, và các chính sách yếu có thể khiến các quốc gia bị chôn vùi trong rác

Trung Quốc, quốc gia đã từng là vua cứu cánh của thế giới, đang đóng cửa đối với tất cả các hoạt động nhập khẩu chất thải trong ngày đầu tiên của năm mới. Thông báo gần đây đã gây ra sự lo lắng tương tự đối với các nước xuất khẩu rác thải vào năm 2018, khi Trung Quốc ban hành chính sách “Chiến dịch thanh kiếm toàn quốc” đó là cấm nhập khẩu 24 loại rác thải rắn, bao gồm cả rác thải nhựa
Tiếp tục đọc “Đông Nam Á đối phó với bãi đổ rác khi Trung Quốc thực thi lệnh cấm nhập khẩu rác thải”

More critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in Hanoi

By Vo Hai   December 19, 2020 | 12:03 pm GMT+7 vnexpressMore critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in HanoiThe rare Rafetus swinhoei, or Hoan Kiem (Sword Lake) turtle, spotted at Dong Mo Lake in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of the Asian Turtle Program.Tests have confirmed that the turtle recently discovered in Hanoi’s Dong Mo Lake is a rare Hoan Kiem turtle, authorities announced on Friday.

Tiếp tục đọc “More critically endangered Red River turtles discovered in Hanoi”

Bài học cao su

  • QUỐC NAM – BÁ DŨNG – CÔNG ĐÔNG
  • TTCT – 10.11.2020, 13:36

Một thời khắp các tỉnh miền Trung và Tây Nguyên ầm ầm chặt rừng để trồng cao su. Loài cây cho ra những hạt mủ từng được ví là “vàng trắng” này giúp nhiều địa phương đổi thay bộ mặt, nhưng cái giá phải trả cũng không hề nhỏ.

Bài học cao su
Thương lái thu mua cây cao su gãy đổ sau bão số 5. Ảnh: Nguyễn Đắc Thành

Phá bỏ cao su ồ ạt

Sau những trận bão, giấc mơ vàng trắng từ cây cao su tại Quảng Bình đã dần tắt. Chỉ trong 7 năm, tổng diện tích trồng cao su của tỉnh này đã giảm từ hơn 18.000ha xuống gần một nửa, chuyển qua những cây trồng khác mang lại hiệu quả kinh tế cao hơn. Câu chuyện y hệt cũng diễn ra tại tỉnh Quảng Nam. Tiếp tục đọc “Bài học cao su”

Endangered crane absent from Vietnam’s Ramsar site

By Hoang Nam   December 15, 2020 | 08:00 pm GMT+7 VnExpress

Losing their natural habitat and food source, red-crowned cranes no longer call a national park in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta home.

For three decades, Tram Chim National Park in the reed fields of Dong Thap Muoi in Dong Thap Province has been famous as a natural habitat for the large East Asian red-crowned crane, among the rarest in the world and classified “endangered” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.

Tiếp tục đọc “Endangered crane absent from Vietnam’s Ramsar site”

Southeast Asia braces for trash dump as China enacts waste import ban

SCMP
  • On January 1, China will no longer be accepting waste from other countries, with Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia likely to feel the brunt of the new policy
  • Although the three countries have taken steps to deal with mounting trash, corruption and weak policies could doom them to remain buried in refuse
A river canal in Ho Chi Minh City choked by mostly plastic waste. Photo: Sen Nguyen
A river canal in Ho Chi Minh City choked by mostly plastic waste. Photo: Sen Nguyen

China, which used to be the world’s salvage king, is shutting its door to all waste imports starting the first day of the new year. The recent announcement triggered the same kind of anxiety among waste-exporting countries as in 2018, when China enacted its “Operation National Sword” policy, which banned the import of 24 types of solid waste, including plastic waste.

The 2018 policy switch caused the world’s major waste-exporting countries – Europe, Britain, the US and Australia – to scramble for alternative destinations, including

Southeast Asian

nations like Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, which quickly became overwhelmed by the volume of refuse they received. Soon after, these countries began to impose their own bans and restrictions on waste imports.

With China’s latest announcement about a blanket waste ban, concerns have been raised about the effects this might have on Southeast Asian countries, where limited waste-management capacities are common.

Plastic pollution plagues Southeast Asia amid Covid-19 lockdowns
10 Aug 2020
Vietnam

, which borders China and was one of the countries most affected by Beijing’s 2018 waste policy, might not be ready for more imported waste. According to a national report released last month, various types of solid waste imported for manufacturing do not only not meet the national technical standard in regards to

environmental protection

but also put more pressure on waste-management services in the country.

Meanwhile, most of the domestically made solid waste processing equipment is unsynchronized, incomplete and not yet common in the country – going by the National Environmental Status Report in 2019 issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. No specific national guidelines exist on what technology to use to treat municipal solid waste.

Since 2018, the Vietnamese government has kept a tight rein of its scrap imports through various policies, including amending the country’s technical standard to ensure only quality scrap is allowed in and cracking down on illegal shipments of thousands of containers of paper, plastic and metal scrap. Vietnam imported 9.2 million tons of scrap in the same year, a 14 per cent year-on-year increase, according to Vietnam customs statistics.

Tiếp tục đọc “Southeast Asia braces for trash dump as China enacts waste import ban”

Rừng phòng hộ đầu nguồn

 18/11/2020, Thiện Tùng, Mekong-Cuulong

Muốn biết rừng nguyên sinh phòng hộ bị tàn phá thế nào, chư vị cứ gõ: “Nạn phá  rừng” thì Goole đáp ứng ngay. Bài viết nầy tôi có dụng ý góp phần tranh luận về cây tạo nên “Rừng phòng hộ” và “Cây công nghiệp”.

Tiếp tục đọc “Rừng phòng hộ đầu nguồn”

VÌ SAO CÁC ĐẬP THỦY ĐIỆN CÓ THỂ GIÚP ASEAN CHỐNG THAY ĐỔI KHÍ HẬU.

 (How hydropower dams can help ASEAN fight climate change)

Stefano Galelli – Bình Yên Đông lược dịch, mekong-cuulong

Channel News Asia – 11 November 2020

Việc xây cất thủy điện ở Lào bị đình chỉ vì lo ngại Covid-19 lây lan. [Ảnh: Jack Board]

Đập là hạ tầng cơ sở được xây để kiểm soát dòng chảy của sông và chứa một số nước lớn trong hồ nhân tạo hay hồ chứa.

Tiếp tục đọc “VÌ SAO CÁC ĐẬP THỦY ĐIỆN CÓ THỂ GIÚP ASEAN CHỐNG THAY ĐỔI KHÍ HẬU.”

How Taiwan uses Buddhist literature for environmental education

The Conversation
01 Dec 2020, 00:39 GMT+10

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges that the world faces. A United Nations report has cautioned that greenhouse gas emissions due to human activity are at a record high, “with no signs of slowing down.” Many nations are recording weather extremes, higher average temperatures and rising seas. Meanwhile, the first wave of increasing numbers of climate refugees points to how a changing environment will reshape human life.

Tiếp tục đọc “How Taiwan uses Buddhist literature for environmental education”

Hanoi sidewalks with projected 70-year lifespan crumble after 3 years in use

Wednesday, November 18, 2020, 15:30 GMT+7 vnexpress

Hanoi sidewalks with projected 70-year lifespan crumble after 3 years in use
Stone tiles are seen in poor conditions on the sidewalk of Nguyen Trai Street in Hanoi. Photo: Pham Tuan / Tuoi Tre

Claimed to last for at least 50-70 years, stones used to pave major streets in Hanoi are falling apart only a few years after they were installed.

Tiếp tục đọc “Hanoi sidewalks with projected 70-year lifespan crumble after 3 years in use”

Muôn kiểu phá rừng – Bài 2: Cổ thụ về xuôi, rừng chảy máu

SGGP 

Vài năm trở lại đây, ở nước ta rộ lên thú chơi cây cảnh cổ thụ được khai thác từ rừng. Ban đầu, đây chỉ là trào lưu nhỏ lẻ của một bộ phận người đam mê cây cảnh, nhưng dần dần nó đã lan rộng trở thành “cơn lốc” triệt hạ, cưỡng bức cây rừng ở khu vực Tây Nguyên – Nam Trung bộ.
Tin liên quan

Những cuộc đào bới, triệt hạ cây rừng bắt đầu từ nương rẫy, dần tấn công cả vào rừng phòng hộ. Rừng bị tàn sát khiến lũ lụt gia tăng. Trong khi đó, các cơ quan chức năng lại kêu khó vì pháp luật còn nhiều kẽ hở.
Tiếp tục đọc “Muôn kiểu phá rừng – Bài 2: Cổ thụ về xuôi, rừng chảy máu”

Experiencing life of western farmers in Tram Chim National Park

vietnamnet 3/11/2020    07:25 GMT+7

Besides contemplating the beauty of nature in Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap Province, visitors to the park can also experience a day in life of farmers in the west of Vietnam.
Tourists visiting Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap Province experience fishermen’s life. Photos: VNA

Tiếp tục đọc “Experiencing life of western farmers in Tram Chim National Park”

Minister warns about development of small-scale hydropower

29/10/2020    18:10 GMT+7 vietnamnet

Answering the local press on the sidelines of the National Assembly session, Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Tran Hong Ha said the principle of his ministry is ‘not to develop small-scale hydropower at any cost’.

Many experts believe that the historic floods in the central region some days ago were the results of climate change. How does the draft of the amended law on environmental protection address the issue?

Minister warns about development of small-scale hydropower

Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment Tran Hong Ha

The issues related to climate change, natural disasters and floods are mentioned in many laws. The reason behind recent floods is extreme climate change. All the indicators exceed the indicators of the floods in history.

Tiếp tục đọc “Minister warns about development of small-scale hydropower”