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Hanoi's downtown district sorts waste at source
Anh Kiet 20:41, 2024/06/16
People in Hanoi need technical guidelines for sorting waste at source to be published as soon as possible.

As one of the first five districts in the pilot scheme to sort waste at source, Hanoi's central district of Hoan Kiem will have all 18 of its wards sorting waste from July 1 this year.

However, for a couple of years now, Hoan Kiem District has been taking steps to reduce waste and raise people's awareness of waste sorting as required by the Law on Environmental Protection 2020.

Yet much waste, averaging 220 tons a day, is not sorted at source, making treatment difficult.

The local authorities have issued a plan to pilot "sorting, collection at source and transportation of biological solid waste in 2024" to speed up the process.   

Sorting household waste at source helps protect the environment. Photos: moitruong.net

Under the plan, all 18 wards in Hoan Kiem District are expected to participate in the pilot program. Household solid waste will be classified into four categories: recyclable waste (such as paper, plastic, and metals); bulky waste (large discarded items like furniture or tree branches); hazardous waste (batteries, chemicals, electronic devices); and other waste (food waste and miscellaneous waste).

Vice Chairwoman of Hoan Kiem District People's Committee Le Anh Thu said that the authorities of all 18 wards have been requested to proactively coordinate with relevant departments of the district to focus on disseminating and issuing technical guidelines for the sorting of waste at the source.

“To make the program effective, the district has intensified efforts to raise awareness among officials and residents about the need to sort waste at source and the movement against plastic waste,” the vice chairwoman stressed.

The Hoan Kiem District branch of the Hanoi Urban Environment Company (URENCO) will place the containers in ways that facilitate identification and disposal. Sorting waste at source in Phase 1 will run until the first quarter of 2025 and will be rolled out simultaneously throughout the city in 2026.

Statistics from the URENCO show that the city generates about 7,000 tons of solid waste every day, of which 51.9% (more than 3,600 tons) is food waste and only 7.1% (about 500 tons) is recyclable solid waste. At present, domestic solid waste is mainly collected and taken to landfill, accounting for 98%, only 2% of domestic solid waste is treated by incineration method.

Proposed optimal solutions for sorting solid waste at source
 

Nguyen Huy Nga, former director of the Department of Environmental Management under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, told The Hanoi Times that sorting waste at source is key to improving the city's waste treatment capacity.

"Hanoi has promoted solid waste management while raising public awareness of environmental protection. However, the treatment of domestic solid waste is not only a challenge, but also a vital issue for the capital's sustainable development now and in the future. Therefore, the capital city has been looking for optimal solutions to sort solid waste at source," Nga said.

He noted that the most important for sorting solid waste at source is to raise people’s awareness. “One of the main reasons for the failure of previous projects to sort waste at source is that people are not aware of their important contribution to the city's environmental protection and they have not adopted waste sorting habits,” the former director stressed.

Many garbage bins of different colors, indicating different types of waste, have been placed on the streets of Hanoi to sort waste.

He suggested that Hanoi’s authorities should keep regular communication to raise people's awareness and that schools in the city should teach students how to sort waste at source so that they can apply it at home.

Nga also advised developing a specific policy on environmental fees and penalties, along with another policy to create a competitive environment for businesses to participate in waste collection, treatment, and recycling. He added that no matter how good a policy is, putting it into practice is a challenge, so there needs to be an adequate monitoring mechanism to enforce it.

Moreover, the application of sanctions is also an effective solution to enforce waste classification regulations at source in the near future. Burying garbage must be stopped to prevent pollution.

"No matter how advanced waste treatment technology is, waste must be sorted. This not only meets the processing requirements, but also helps ensure the durability and longevity of the processing system and machinery. Only when waste is classified in line with the right standards can harmful emissions from the incineration process be prevented," the former director emphasized.

Vietnam's Environmental Protection Law 2020, which regulates the classification of household solid waste, will take effect on January 1, 2025. It is considered a turning point for domestic solid waste management.

Some pilot projects are underway across the country. However, after being told basic technical instructions on how they need to sort, each locality, residential area, household and individual really needs a specific roadmap to develop a specific system so that the legal regulations can be enforced.

Sorting solid waste at source will not only reduce the amount of waste that needs to be buried but also the amount of liquid that leaches out of the site. This also significantly reduces the negative environmental impact, including the treatment of leachate and contamination of underground and surface water sources.

The Environmental Protection Law stipulates that the classification of solid household waste is mandatory for all individuals and households. If waste is not classified, it will not be collected.

Decree 45/2022/NĐ-CP stipulates penalties for households and individuals who fail to classify household solid waste and use solid waste packaging according to regulations, with fines ranging from VND500,000 to VND1 million (US$20-40).

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