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Ministry calls for public to make world cleaner

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan talks about this year’s campaign to make the world cleaner.

Young volunteers in Mekong Delta Soc Trang Province collect waste in response to the campaign "Making the world cleaner".


Could you tell us about the message of this year’s campaign to make the world cleaner?

The campaign was initiated by Australia in 1993 and has been held annually worldwide by the UN Environment Programme in the third week of September. The campaign has become an annual international environment event that draws the participation of hundreds of millions of people in more than 130 countries.

In response to the campaign, this year, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment chooses the topic 'Acting together to change the world' with the aim of mobilising organisations, businesses, individuals and the whole community to act together and join activities protecting the environment such as sorting, collecting, treating and recycling waste, and refusing to use disposable plastic products and hard-to-degrade nylon bags.

However, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not necessary to have large gatherings on environment protection but each person can do simple actions such as planting trees and refusing single-use plastic products.

Protecting the environment in the current context is implementing the double goal of keeping our common house green and clean while preventing the disease effectively.

How has the ministry guided agencies and localities in implementing the campaign in the context of COVID-19?

The ministry on September 10 issued a document to direct ministries, agencies, sectors, organisations and localities to organise activities in response to the campaign in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and based on the conditions of each locality.

They are encouraged to organise suitable communication activities such as hanging banners, panels, posters in public areas and workplaces.

Other activities include collecting and treating waste; solving urgent environmental problems in localities, agencies, schools, enterprises; and dredging canals, ponds, lakes, and drainage systems.

Conferences and seminars on environmental protection should be organised based on the actual situation.

Collectives, individuals and enterprises that have outstanding achievements in rationally using natural resources, and those using effective solutions and initiatives in the work, should be honoured.

We believe and hope that each small but proactive and meaningful action of each individual and the community will help make the world better. Our planet will become greener and our living environment will be cleaner.

One part of this year’s campaign relates to the reduction of plastic waste. The Government recently issued a decree on strengthening management on reusing, recycling, handling and reducing plastic waste. How will the ministry implement this decree?

The ministry will soon publicise its implementation plan. At present, many ministries and agencies have mapped out a roadmap to reduce the use of plastic waste in certain fields.

Anti-plastic waste movements over the years have involved efforts of the whole political system, from issuing related policies to changes in businesses’ operation as well as public awareness.

In the draft revision of the Environment Protection Law, which will be submitted to the National Assembly for approval, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment called for more detailed regulations on the responsibilities of producers and consumers in using disposable products, including single-use plastic products. The draft law also has regulations on different types of taxes and fees levied on the production of these kinds of products. Businesses producing environmentally friendly products will enjoy tax reductions or exemptions. — VNS

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