The slogan for the World Environment Day this year is “Beat plastic pollution – if you can not reuse it, refuse it “.

World Environment Day is is a day of everyone around the world to actively engage in the protection of our environment. India is the host of 2018 World Environment Day. In Vietnam, this event will be held in Binh Dinh Province, with a series of nationwide activities such as organizing forums, conferences on climate change; setting up environmental classes for secondary school students; organizing the program of exchanging ecological batteries.

Plastic waste pollution is a serious issue affecting the world today. According to the study by Dr. Dinh Van Khuong from Nha Trang University, Vietnam is the world’s fourth largest plastic waste discharger into the sea. The volume of plastic waste from Vietnam to the South China Sea is from 0.28-0.73 million tons/year, equivalent to 6% of total plastic waste discharged into the sea in the world. However, most Vietnamese people are not aware of the dangers of plastic waste and have not taken necessary actions to reduce the amount of plastic waste.

Plastics have a polymer structure and very slow degradation rate, it can take hundreds or even thousands years for a plastic debris to be naturally degraded.

Some studies suggest the mechanism by which plastics might harm people and the environment as follows:

  • Plastic debris can accumulate and cause obstruction of the digestive tract If ingested by organisms
  • The hydrophobic property of plastics can lead to an accumulation of large amounts of other pollutants such as PCBs, PAHs, pesticides on the surface. These substances, when accumulated in living organisms can cause harm.

Suggestions for minimizing plastic pollution

  • Change our habits of using plastic bags and replace them with eco-friendly bags.
  • Promote family, school and society involvement in education on sorting plastic waste and placing them into designated bins for recycling purposes. In addition, the State should encourage the establishment of private companies specialized in collecting, treating and recycling waste with preferential policies on loans, taxes, etc.
  • Reuse plastic products if possible.
  • Actively propagate on conscious consumption of plastic products.