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Saturday, July 20, 2024

Beyond recycling

By Dr. Nguyen Minh Hoa

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The urgency of environmental concerns is highlighting a crucial fact: recycling and reusing plastic waste, particularly single-use plastics, is not a viable solution. Plastic waste poses a grave threat to our planet, humanity, and nations alike. Daily reliance on plastics, from nylon bags to disposable drinking straws, cups, and bottles, has led to a pervasive waste problem. We encounter discarded plastics everywhere—beaches, canals, wet markets, boat ports, and bus terminals. Annually, a staggering 200 million tons of plastic waste—equivalent to 523,000 billion plastic drinking straws—enter the environment. This alarming statistic comes from the 2021 report “Plastics: The Cost for Society, the Environment, and the Economy” by the Worldwide Fund for Nature in Vietnam (WWF Vietnam). To put this into perspective, if we were to place these plastic straws end to end, they would encircle the Earth 2.8 million times. In Vietnam alone, 1.8 million tons of plastic waste are released into the environment each year, with 72% being single-use plastics. Plastics are inherently slow to decompose, taking 500-700 years to break down completely. They inflict severe harm, disturbing ecosystems and the natural balance of life. Previously, people believed that plastics could be easily managed by collecting and melting them to […]
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