That is the comment of Mr. Phan Tuấn Hùng, head of the Legal Affairs Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE). He reasons that chewing gums are mainly produced from plastics, therefore they (i.e. chewing gum litter) exist in the environment for a long time, causing adverse impact on the environment. The collection of chewing gum litter is complicated or infeasible. The majority of chewing gum litter is hardly degradable and discharged directly into the environment, resulting in aesthetic and environmental pollution. Chewing gum trading brings high profit, therefore producers and importers of these products should share the benefit and burden with government and residents in environmental protection, collection, and treatment of chewing gum litter. This (mechanism) has been applied by many countries.
The draft decree on Extended Producer Responsibility for implementing the revised Environmental Protection Law 2020 plans that producers and importers of chewing gums should contribute 1.5% of the product value to the Vietnam Environmental Protection Fund. This financial contribution will support the collection and treatment of chewing gum litter. However, under the viewpoint of producers and importers, Mr. Edwin Seah, from Food Industry Asia (FIA) argues that the uncontrolled discharge of chewing gum litter is majorly due to the low environmental awareness of the consumers. If producers and importers have to implement the EPR, this issue will not be solved effectively. The additional financial contribution will increase the business expense and impact the job market because chewing gum producers in Vietnam employ local laborers. He thus asks the authorities to reconsider the EPR regulation in the draft decree.
Sources & further information: “Nhà sản xuất, nhập khẩu kẹo cao su phải đóng quỹ bảo vệ môi trường” at https://baotainguyenmoitruong.vn and “Bã kẹo cao su ảnh hưởng tới môi trường ra sao?” at https://baotainguyenmoitruong.vn, accessed on 15 September 2021.