Vietnam warned of an environmental catastrophe that threatens the country – and the main reason for it was declared tourists who shit too much, and every year more and more. We are talking about plastic pollution, which tourists leave behind so much that the country cannot cope. As a result, Vietnam plans to launch a special campaign “Reduce Plastic Waste in Tourism”, initiated by the Vietnam Tourism Association and the Institute of Strategy, Policy and Natural Resources.
According to Vietnamese media, the total amount of plastic waste generated by tourists in Vietnam in 2019 was 116,000 tons, with 85 million domestic tourists dumping almost 61,000 tons of plastic waste, 18 million foreign tourists dumping more than 55,200 tons. It is not known how the tourists were counted, most likely the calculation was carried out in resorts that are more popular with domestic and foreign tourists. For understanding, it is enough to say that back in 2018, some beaches of Vinpearl Island – a popular beach island “opposite” the Nha Trang resort known to Russian tourists – were almost completely littered with plastic bags and other garbage due to the peculiarities of the current.
“Without mitigation measures, the amount of plastic waste from tourism activities will triple in the next 7 years. This is a huge pressure on the environment,” said Nguyen Tuan, director of the Tourism Development Research Institute. There is a risk that by 2030, if nothing changes, the volume of plastic waste will exceed 340 tons.
“In recent years, Vietnam's tourism industry has flourished, receiving more and more tourists. But it also means that tourist activities contribute to an increase in plastic waste,” added Ha Van Siu, deputy director general of the National Tourism Administration of Vietnam. That is why it is planned to launch the “Reduce Plastic Waste in Tourism” program, which is designed to help Vietnam avoid an environmental disaster.
“The program includes: raising awareness at all levels, sectors, businesses, residents and visitors, as well as promoting information about limiting the use of plastic waste,” said the initiators. According to them, while Vietnam faces many difficulties in reducing this burden. Firstly, the awareness of people – including tourists – is low, they litter in the wrong place. Secondly, the cost of creating plastic substitutes is still high, and many businesses fear that switching to more environmentally friendly methods will raise prices, which will reduce competition. Thirdly, it is difficult to apply environmental criteria in tourism products and services on a large scale.
However, it is possible to start small, said Ms. Hoang Nath Thanh, CEO of Au Lac tourism company. “If in Vietnam, instead of giving tour guests two bottles of water, they gave only one, and then instructed them how to get water from free public taps or large jugs of water, I think that everyone would support the measure – and the extra plastic it would reduce substantially,” she said. However, the initiators of the program also suggest the introduction of “strict sanctions” for polluting the environment.
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