Time: 08.00–12.30, 28 February 2019
Venue: Century Riverside Hue hotel, 49 Le Loi street, Phu Hoi district, Hue city, Thua Thien-Hue province, Vietnam.
Vietnam is one of five countries discharging the highest amounts of plastic waste into the world’s ocean. According to the Economist, these five nations (China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam) release more plastic waste into the ocean than the rest of the world combined. The World Bank has warned of an intensifying waste crisis. In Vietnam, an average of 12 million tonnes of domestic waste is generated every day and the figure is forecast to reach 20 million tonnes by 2020. As a result, environmental pollution is becoming an increasingly serious problem in Vietnam. However, there is little awareness of this growing and serious waste management issue. Addressing this problem requires intensive engagement from the government, local authorities, organisations, schools and all citizens.
Towards raising public awareness and creating concrete initiatives and actions in the collection, reusing and recycling of solid and plastic waste, the British Council and Coca-Cola Vietnam in October 2018 introduced Fostering Creativity for a World without Waste, a three-year collaboration project. In its first year, Thua Thien-Hue province was selected as the project pilot site, in coordination with Thua Thien-Hue Department of Education and Training from September 2018 to March 2019.
“In Hue, tourism is currently one of the important economic sectors of the province. However, tourism is also identified as one of the factors having many adverse effects on the environment. We are delighted to be selected to participate in the Fostering Creativity for a World without Waste project. Hue is currently one of the pioneering localities in the implementation of responsible tourism. We have carried out many activities to clean the environment, called on many sectors to participate more actively, increase levels of responsibility to protect the environment and coordinate with stakeholders to organise activities. Such activities to have remarkable impacts included Thank you, Huong river or most recently the Green Sunday – Take action for a greener, cleaner and more beautiful Thua Thien-Hue promotion activity.” said Nguyen Tan, Deputy Director of Thua Thien-Hue Department of Education and Training.
As one of the three components of the pilot project in Hue, the Policy Dialogue on Waste Management Solutions is an opportunity for national and international stakeholders, local and community leaders to discuss the situation of waste management in Vietnam and the United Kingdom and find effective solutions through sharing initiatives, experiences and ways for Thua Thien-Hue province and the United Kingdom to intensify future project impacts. “An innovative idea doesn’t have to be a big idea, rather one that makes a positive difference. Using the approach and methodology of the British Council’s Active Citizen programme, over the past six months teachers and students from three high schools in Hue benefitted from targeted capacity building, equipping them with skills and knowledge on how to address the ongoing issue of plastic waste within their communities. At the same time, the initiative brought greater awareness to the wider community on the importance of sustainable development. In 2018, alarming figures on the volume of plastic waste in our oceans and across our natural environment have been a wake-up call to the world. Governments and the corporate sector have begun to act. We are pleased to have counted on the support and partnership of Coca Cola in this initiative, demonstrating that social entrepreneurship can deliver solutions for communities. This develops sustainability and resilience, whilst at the same time supports economic development to build a strong community,” said Donna McGowan, Country Director of the British Council in Vietnam.
With support from trained facilitators, social project groups initiated by high school students have been deployed and brought positive results. These students’ initiatives were creative and diverse, expressing a deep awareness of environmental protection. For example, The Sharks group - Art of garbage for the Community - recycles used plastic bottles, plastic bags into works of art to raise funds for poor paediatric patients. Meanwhile, the Polymer Brick - a project that successfully produced bricks made from plastic waste - has met technical requirements for construction materials. The Green Soap Project has taken a different approach to producing soap from natural, environmentally-friendly materials ensuring consumer health.
Le Tu Cam Ly, Legal and Public Affairs, Coca-Cola Indochina, said: “Coca-Cola, with the global strategy A World without Waste, has set goal to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can it sells globally by 2030. In addition to the investment cooperation to develop the waste collection system, it is extremely important to encourage classification of garbage at home as well as to search for plastic recycling solutions, raise awareness and call for the younger generation's participation in finding solutions to manage the recycling of plastic waste. This collaboration with the British Council provides a more creative, interesting and a closer look for plastic waste management solutions. Each of these ideas has created great environmental impacts and we hope this programme will be a new inspiration for teachers, students and communities.”.