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Hospitals in Vietnam to stop using plastic bags: Minister
Anh Kiet 19:04, 2019/08/16
From now on, Vietnam`s health sector will replace disposable plastic products with those made from environmentally-friendly or reusable materials.
Hospitals in Vietnam are asked to stop using non-biodegradable nylon with a view to reducing plastic waste in the health sector, Minister Nguyen Thi Kim Tien stressed at a teleconference in Hanoi on August 16.
 
Hue General Hospital replaces disposable plastic water bottles with glass bottles during meetings. Photo: Thu Lan
Hue General Hospital replaces disposable plastic water bottles with glass bottles during meetings. Photo: Thu Lan
Tien cited that Vietnam has more than 13,000 medical facilities attending more than 150 million patients and over 300 million outpatients per year. As a Vietnamese practice, a patient is not hospitalized alone but often with one or two relatives to take care of him/her. They together discharge a huge amount of waste. About 5% or 22 tons of daily medical waste is plastic.

"The majority of plastic waste is non-biodegradable nylon bags, " Tien said.

The minister requested that from now on the health sector will replace disposable plastic products with those made from environmentally-friendly or reusable materials. Medical staff and patients will not use hoods, shoe covers, medicine bags and waste bags made of plastic.

Some hospitals are now minimizing the use of plastic utensils. Hue General Hospital in the central province of Thua Thien - Hue is applying the 3Rs model which is Reduce – Reuse – Recycle. During the hospital meetings, the delegates drink water from glass cups and bottles instead of plastic ones.

In the first four months of 2019, health facilities in Binh Dinh province have treated more than 73 tons of hazardous waste, of them 6.5 tons of plastic waste can be recycled. Thanks to recycling and reusing plastic bags, hospitals in Binh Dinh have reduced 10,000 plastic bags of volume of 15 liters each discharged to the environment.


According to statistics from the European Commission, by 2018, about 8.3 billion tons of plastic products were produced, of which 6.3 billion tons became waste, 5 billion tons were accumulated in the environment or buried. Every year, about 4.8-12.7 million tons of plastic waste are discharged into the ocean.
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