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Saigon Aims to Remove Plastic Bags From Supermarkets by Year-End

Have you switched to reusable bags yet?

Tuoi Tre reports that a master plan on plastic waste put forth by the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment includes an aim to ban the use of plastic bags in supermarkets city-wide by the end of this year. Eco-friendly alternatives would be phased in to replace damaging plastic bags, while shoppers will be encouraged to bring their own bags to carry their purchases in. 

This is part of an effort to reduce plastic waste by making plastic use less common in the first place. Under the plan, government offices will also have to restrict the usage of plastic packaging, and eventually stop using such containers entirely.

Public schools, hospitals and clinics have also been advised to phase out single-use plastics in their operations, though it is not clear if there will be funding to invest in alternative solutions. All told, city officials hope to completely remove plastic bags from all supermarkets and shopping centers by the end of 2021, in addition to cutting plastic bag use in traditional markets by 50%.

According to the news source, the environment department also called on the tourism, marine economy and fisheries sectors to reduce their reliance on plastic products and focus more on recycling and reusing items.

This is all part of Saigon's "reduce-reuse-recycle" slogan, which covers various campaigns to raise awareness of the damaging impact single-use plastics have on the environment. Plastic waste is a chronic problem throughout Vietnam, and efforts to improve the situation have achieved mixed results.

A successful, albeit more small-scale, trial program was executed in Hoi An in the past years. On the Cham Islands, for example, market vendors switched to paper bags, tree leaves and newspapers as carriers instead of plastic bags.

[Photo via Bao Bi VN]

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