Hà Nội aims to reduce the use of plastic bags in the traditional markets, supermarkets and trade centres to protect environment as well as ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem.
This is the action plan of the Hà Nội People’s Committee that aims to implement the sustainable production and consumption programme by 2020.
The city also plans to increase the percentage of enterprises in industrial parks and complex applying eco-friendly technologies to 60-70 per cent.
Under the plan, Hà Nội will raise public awareness on the use of plastics, urge and educate enterprises to trade plastic products and nylon bags for recyclable materials instead.
Most of the city’s markets and supermarkets do not use eco-friendly plastic bags, the Lao Động (Labour) newspaper reported.
Đỗ Thị Mai, a fruit shop in Lĩnh Nam Ward, Hoàng Mai District, said she consumed over 1kg of nylon bags a day.
“I know using plastic bags will pollute the environment but I still have to use everyday because customers need. We will stop when there is a ban,” she said.
Regarding the use of plastic bags and the long-term effects of them, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment said plastic bag waste has a serious impact on the environment and human health.
Việt Nam is among the top five polluting countries worldwide, which together contribute as much as 60 per cent of all plastic waste that enters the world’s seas.
Only two large cities, Hà Nội and HCM City discharge about 80 tons of plastic and plastic bags each day, of which most plastic bags are difficult to decompose, according to the ministry.
“If 10 per cent of plastic waste is not recycled, the amount of plastic discharged in the country will reach 2.5 million tonnes per year,” a representative of Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment was quoted by the newspaper as saying.
Traditional, non-biodegradable plastic bags are subject to an environmental tax of VNĐ40,000 (US$1.70) per kg. Tax is set to increase to VNĐ50,000 ($2.10) as of January 1, 2019 while plastic bags are sold at the markets at VNĐ35-40,000 per kg.
Price of plastic bag is equivalent to environmental protection tax, tax loss is clear, the newspaper said.
Legal loopholes have enabled widespread tax evasion that has caused huge financial losses for the State and limited the effectiveness of the tax.
To avoid tax losses with plastic bags, it is needed to amend the regulations related to environmental protection tax, according to Phạm Đình Thi, director of the Ministry of Finance’s Tax Policy Department.
Dr Nguyễn Minh Phong, an economic expert also agreed.
Raising public awareness about the harmful effects of plastic bags was a solution to reduce plastic use but would not solve the root of the problem, he said.
It was necessary to amend regulations so that supermarkets and trade centres would not supply plastic bags for free so customers have to spend their own money to buy them when they shop, adding that it was a measure adopted by many countries to reduce the use of plastic bags, said Phong. — VNS