Pollution of the marine environment due to plastic waste has become a global environmental problem that is paid great attention by governments, international organizations, scientists and people around the world. Currently, the Party and the Central Government of Vietnam have paid special attention to the sustainable development of the seas and islands and have assigned the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to develop a National Action Plan for Marine Plastic Waste Management by 2030.
With the permission of Vietnam National University, Hanoi (VNU), the VNU Central Institute for Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (VNU-CRES) in collaboration with the Institute for Tropical Technology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (ITT), Vietnam Institute of Seas and Islands, Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) are going to hold an international workshop on “Marine Plastic Pollution in Vietnam: Current Situation and Solutions”. The objectives of the conference are: to gather and share information and, research results on theoretical and practical issues related to resolving the plastic waste problem in the oceans; to develop an action network to reduce plastic waste in Vietnam.
The conference gathered more than 160 scientists from research institutes and universities throughout the country (such as VNU Ho Chi Minh City, Tay Bac University, Thai Nguyen University, Thuy Loi University, etc.); authorities from ministries and localities; lecturers, scientists and staff of the member units of VNU; experts and scientists from the world’s leading universities such as University of Birmingham, University of Leeds, University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom); University of Florida (United States); Korea University (Korea); Bangladesh Embassy attending the Workshop to share international experience in the fight against global plastic waste.
With over 35 reports and 16 scientific papers, the following topics were clarified: (i) Current status of plastic waste pollution and impacts of plastic waste on nature and people; (ii) Solutions and alternative technologies for plastic and plastic waste treatment; (iii) Policy on management and reduction of plastic waste.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Bao Son, Deputy Director of VNU gave opening remarks of the Conference
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Pham Bao Son, Deputy Director of VNU; Dr. Ta Dinh Thi, General-Director of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands – Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment; Prof. Tran Dai Lam, Director of the Institute for Tropical Technology – Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology gave the opening speech and welcomed the delegations. At the same time, the leaders highly appreciated the initiative and efforts of VNU-CRES in actively coordinating with the major management agencies and research institutes to organize this meaningful international conference.
Mr. Ta Dinh Thi, General-Director of Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment gave a welcome speech
The conference took place in 2 days, from November 29th to November 30th, 2019, in which, on November 30th, 2019, the international delegates made a field trip to the flows of plastic waste from big cities (Ha. Noi, Ha Nam) to the coastal estuary area (Nam Dinh).
This event is an important forum, at the same time, creating a very meaningful opportunity for Vietnamese scientists to exchange and share international knowledge and experiences in field research and evaluation of environmental pollution caused by plastic waste in general and particulate matter in particular; negative impacts of plastic waste on ecosystems, organisms and human health; as well as solutions to manage and reduce plastic waste pollution. At the same time, the seminar contributes to connect and launch the cooperative research programs on solutions and policies on plastic waste management and reduction in Vietnam with international partners in the near future.
On this occasion, scientists claimed that plastic waste could remain in the environment for a long time and gradually contaminate and destroy marine species, marine ecosystems and human health. Ocean plastic waste is a big and complex problem not only in the nature, but also in terms of knowledge, understanding as well as the process of generation, dispersion and transformation of them. We have only dealt with a very small fraction of plastic waste at the movement level such as the garbage collection movement, or committed to restricting and moving towards not using disposable plastic products. The path of plastic waste from land to the sea through rivers has polluted the rivers. Solving the problem of plastic waste requires a comprehensive strategy and solution, which prioritizes effective management of plastic waste at source; seeking alternative technologies and materials to replace plastic products; building a national database of plastic waste; technology solutions for recycling and reusing plastic waste; biotechnology applications accelerate the process of plastic waste decomposition; environmental education to raise the awareness of the community to reduce plastic waste.
For Vietnam, the research results on the status of plastic pollution and the impact of plastic waste on the environment, ecosystems, organisms and especially human health impacts are substantial. Therefore, Vietnam needs to promote international cooperation to share experiences and find solutions to manage and reduce plastic waste pollution today. All of the delegations agreed that Vietnam management authority should issue specific mechanisms and policies to mobilize a team of scientists from research institutions to participate in the studies for managing and proposing solutions to reduce plastic waste, contributing to the feasibility and successful implementation of Vietnam’s international commitments on management and reduction of plastic waste in the ocean.
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The speakers presented and answered questions from the delegates
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