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Vietnam Mulls 400% Hike in Plastic Bag Tax to Reduce Waste

Vietnam might slap a hefty tax on local plastic bag sales in the future, but it remains unclear if the hike might be of any use against the country’s love for all things plastic.

Tuoi Tre reports that the Ministry of Finance is mulling an amendment to Vietnam’s environmental protection laws that would boost the country’s tax on plastic bags by 400%.

Current regulations dictate that for every kilogram of plastic bags, sellers must pay VND40,000 (US$1.76) in tax. This rate was imposed in January 2012.

Now, the ministry is contemplating a hike that would increase the price to VND200,000 (US$8.81). According to the news source, this new levy means that on average, each bag is taxed VND2,000 ($0.09).

If approved, the move would be a positive sign that local government agencies are paying more attention to the environment. However, many are doubtful that a simple monetary increase without accompanying efforts to reduce people’s reliance on plastic bags would result in considerable success.

Moreover, as Vietnam’s economy still involves many unofficial transactions, it’s impossible to monitor the implementation of this tax, especially when it comes to small businesses and street vendors whose daily operation doesn’t include receipts.

Environmental tax is not a novel idea as many countries have also put in place similar measures. The Guardian reports that after the United Kingdom started taxing citizens five pence (VND1,500) per bag, the number of single-use plastic bags dropped a whopping 85%.

The world’s strictest law on plastics bag belong to Kenya, where selling and using plastics bag might land one in jail.

[Photo via Flickr user Orange Brompton]

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