The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in coordination with photographer Nguyen Viet Hung, or Lekima Hung, organised a photo exhibition on plastic waste in Ha Noi on June 4.
Themed “Save our seas,” the five-day exhibition, the first of its kind in Vietnam, aims to respond to World Environment Day (June 5) and World Oceans Day (June 8).
Addressing the opening ceremony, Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Vietnam, called for practical activities to create a greener and cleaner Vietnam.
Lekima Hung expressed his hope for higher public awareness of plastic waste and that management agencies will issues policies to fight plastic waste.
On display are more than 100 photos elected from over 3,000 works taken along more than 3,000 km of coastline in 28 cities and provinces, and more than 100 estuaries.
Vietnam is one of Asia’s five worst polluters of ocean plastic waste, according to international organisations. With 13 million tonnes of waste released to the ocean every year, the country ranks 17th in the world for ocean plastic waste pollution.
Although there are no official statistics on the amount and varieties of plastic in the Vietnamese sea and islands, plastic waste is easy to see in Vietnamese waters, with the country’s 112 estuaries the main gateways of plastic to the ocean.
Numbers from Vietnam’s Association of Plastic illustrate the scale of the problem. In 1990, each Vietnamese consumed 3.8kg of plastic per year, but 25 years later, the figure hit 41kg.
As many as 1,000 plastic bags are used each minute but only 27 percent of them are treated and recycled.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimated that about 80 tonnes of plastic waste and bags are thrown away every day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City combined.