Current status and solutions to plastic waste in fishery industry 

Description

That was the content of the workshop organized by the Vietnam Institute of Fisheries Economics and Planning (VIFEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Vietnam on 1st December 2021. Marine litter, in general, and plastic waste in fish farming, in particular, are critical issues in Vietnam.

According to the survey of Vũ Thị Hồng Ngân from VIFEP, each hectare of intensive shrimp farming uses 1,658-1,955 tons of plastic/year. About 90% of the total amount of 91,000 to 107,000 tons of plastic/year used from intensive white-leg shrimp farming was collected. For fishing boats, the main plastic waste includes fishing nets, post-harvest preservation, and daily life items. Specifically, everyday items are plastic bottles, plastic bags, instant noodle packages, milk cartons, and cooking oil bottles. These items amount to 4 – 6 kg/trip for vessels of 7 – 10 people and only 5% is collected. The major challenges in managing and controlling plastic waste in the fishery sector include “weak policy mechanisms, limited awareness of farmers, poor infrastructure, and difference of culture between provinces”. Additionally, “small-scale fishery production, poor inspection, examination and supervision, limitation of waste collection and recycling technology” are other difficulties.

Experts suggested several solutions to the sustainable development of the fishery industry as follows: 1) Raising awareness of boat owners and fishermen. 2) Implementing stronger and more decisive measures for fishing boats and inspection from responsible authorities. 3) Conducting survey, assessment, and inventory of plastic waste on fishing boats onboard. 4) Establishing collection centers equipped with sorting and pressing system at fishing port and this system is “connected to the collection system of the Material Recycling Facility”. 5) Developing legal regulations which require fishing boats to bring plastic waste back to the shore. 6) Involving all stakeholders to tackle the marine plastic issues together.

About 3.7 million tons of plastic waste were produced in Vietnam annually and only 10 to 15% of this is recycled, according to the World Economic Forum. The amount of plastic waste discharged into the ocean from the country is around 730,000 tons/year.

Related articles:
Vietnam aims to become a regional pioneer in reducing marine plastic waste
Protection of marine environment in Vietnam: policies and actions
Vietnam joins global treaty on ocean plastic pollution 

Source & further information: “Marine plastic waste an urgent issue in coastal Việt Nam” at https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/1091196/marine-plastic-waste-an-urgent-issue-in-coastal-viet-nam.html, accessed on 7 December 2021.

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