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Plastic packaging a cause for concern in online shopping era in Vietnam

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The trend of online food purchasing, which has prevailed since the COVID-19 outbreak, and the prevalent use of plastic packaging in retail are increasing plastic waste volume, potentially causing long-term health risks.

During the strict COVID-19 restrictions last year, 75 percent of people living in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City used online food delivery services, according to a survey of Q&Me, a market research firm.

Such food is usually packed in boxes made of plastic that accounted for 64 percent of the total volume of materials used for the food packaging industry.

Many vendors prefer using plastic bags to contain various items sold online and at bricks-and-mortar shops.

ProCi Food, a Ho Chi Minh City-based non-profit social project, and some other eco-friendly businesses, like Phu Yen Province-based Tuy An Farm, have called on their customers to send back packaging to them so that they can return it to manufacturers for processing and reuse.

Some online grocery stores, such as ‘Sap Chang Sen’ in Hanoi, have also applied the same practice to minimize plastic waste. 

Kafka Bookstores in Ho Chi Minh City and Stars Bookstore Company Limited in the capital have shared with their customers solutions for reducing waste from packaging and softening environmental impacts from their business operations.

Consumers can make online shopping ‘greener’ by including multiple items in one purchase order and by requesting sellers to use packing methods that help cut down on plastic packaging waste.

In developed countries, major e-commercial sites have made changes to packages to both facilitate buyers and lessen damage to the environment.

Amazon, for example, has turned to packets made from recyclable materials.

Manufacturers should work with retailers to have their goods shipped to online buyers in the original packaging, instead of using any additional one.

Suppliers and transporters should use linings made from eco-friendly materials instead of shock-absorbing films made of plastic.

Very little of the plastic people discard every day is recycled or incinerated in waste-to-energy facilities, but much of it ends up in landfills where it may take up to 1,000 years to decompose, leaking potentially toxic substances to soil and water, according to the United Nations Environment Program.

People eat, drink, and breathe micro-plastics every day, and these small plastic particles may be detrimental to human health once they have entered the body, according the Plastic Health Coalition (PHC), under the Netherlands-based Plastic Soup Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to educate the public about plastic waste harm.

Plastic products contain chemical additives, some of which are associated with serious health problems such as hormone-related cancers, infertility, and neurodevelopment disorders like ADHD and autism, PHC said.

When plastics and micro-plastics end up in the environment, they attract micro-organisms, such as harmful bacteria, and if micro-plastics containing these pathogens penetrate the body, they may increase the risk of infection, the coalition warned.

Health experts emphasized that long-term usage and exposure of plastics and plastic products to high temperature can lead to leaking of toxic chemical constituents into food, drinks, and water.

Indiscriminate disposal of plastics on land and open-air burning can result in the release of harmful chemicals into the air, causing public health hazards, experts said.

Supermarkets and trade centers in Vietnam will be fined for distributing disposable plastic bags to customers from 2026, the Vietnam News Agency quoted an environment official as saying at a seminar held last month on reduction in the consumption of single-use plastic bags in Vietnam.

The official, Nguyen Trung Thang, deputy director of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, under the Department of Industry and Trade of Hanoi, said that Vietnam had issued various legal documents to control serious risks of plastic waste to the environment.

The country also strives to use 100 percent of environmentally-friendly bags at shopping centers and supermarkets by 2025.

“From 2026, supermarkets and trade centers will be fined for providing disposable plastic bags for customers,” Thang said.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220528/plastic-packaging-a-cause-for-concern-in-online-shopping-era-in-vietnam/67349.html

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Hanoi streets flooded by massive rainstorm

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A downpour with a massive volume of rain battered Hanoi on Monday evening and resulted in large-scale flooding that lasted until late at night.

Information from the Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Company showed that the downpour lashed the capital city from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, while showers lingered until late at night.

The highest rainfall was recorded at 245 millimeters in Dong Anh District, while rain volumes of 115 to 190 millimeters were reported in Bac Tu Liem, Nam Tu Liem, and Cau Giay Districts.

People travel in heavy rain on a street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

People travel in heavy rain on a street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

The rain caused serious flooding on many streets in multiple districts.

Among them, streets such as Thuy Khue, Do Duc Duc, Vuong Thua Vu, Nguyen Trai, Hoa Bang, Phan Van Truong, Minh Khai, and Hoa Bang were submerged under rainwater as high as 0.2-0.3 meters.

The inundation posed a lot of challenges for commuters as it caused numerous motorbikes and cars to break down.

A resident pushes a broken-down motorbike on a flooded street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

A resident pushes a broken-down motorbike on a flooded street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

On Thanh Nien Street, a tree was uprooted by strong gusts and fell onto a car, but no one was harmed in the incident.

The flooding was so serious that multiple streets in Cau Giay, Nam Tu Liem, Tay Ho, Ba Dinh, and Ha Dong Districts were still submerged as of Monday night.

Traffic congestion and flooding occur at the Lieu Gia-Dao Tan Intersection in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

Traffic congestion and flooding occur at the Lieu Giai-Dao Tan Intersection in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

Duong Dinh Nghe Street in Hanoi is still submerged as of 9:20 pm on July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Duong Dinh Nghe Street in Hanoi was still submerged as of 9:20 pm on July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

A resident rides a motorbike on a flooded street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

A resident rides a motorbike on a flooded street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Motorbikes break down due to the serious flooding in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Motorbikes break down due to the serious flooding in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Motorbikes break down due to the serious flooding in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Motorbikes break down due to the serious flooding in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

An uprooted tree falls on a car on Thanh Nien Street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

An uprooted tree falls on a car on Thanh Nien Street in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Nam Tran / Tien Phong

A serious traffic jam in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

A serious traffic jam in Hanoi, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Employees of the Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Company are mobilized to alleviate the flooding, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Employees of the Hanoi Sewerage and Drainage Company are mobilized to alleviate the flooding, July 5, 2022. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220706/hanoi-streets-flooded-by-massive-rainstorm/67966.html

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Hanoi to build $4.3mn road tunnel through Red River dyke

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The Hanoi People’s Committee has approved the feasibility report for a project to develop a road tunnel passing through the Red River dyke system and Tran Quang Khai Street in Hoan Kiem District with at an estimated cost of VND100 billion (US$4.3 million).

As per the feasibility report, the road tunnel project, connecting Tran Nguyen Han and Chuong Duong Do Streets, will allow both pedestrians and vehicles to pass through when it is in place. 

The project is expected to help ease traffic congestion in the area and ensure safety for road users.

The investor of the project is the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District. 

The tunnel project was designed to be 18.25 meters wide, 3.2 meters high, and 15.7 meters long.

The outside of the body and arches of the tunnel will be decorated to match the surrounding architecture.

Two lanes of the elevated section of Tran Quang Khai Street passing through the peak of the tunnel will be expanded. 

The elevated section of the street will be connected to Chuong Duong Do Street and a section of Tran Quang Khai Street on the ground. 

The project will be conducted from 2022 to 2024.

The tunnel project was originally meant to be completed on October 10, 2019 to celebrate the capital’s liberation (October 10, 1954) when the People’s Committee of Hoan Kiem District was chosen as the investor in 2018. 

On October 19, 2015, the Hanoi administration issued a statement negotiating with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development on the design of the tunnel project linking Tran Nguyen Han and Chuong Duong Do Streets. 

The project was planned to be mainly developed southward to minimize site clearance.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220706/hanoi-to-build-43mn-road-tunnel-through-red-river-dyke/67965.html

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Construction waste dumping recurs in Hanoi

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Waste from construction projects is being abandoned without permission at vacant lots in many districts across Hanoi as the issue remains unresolved.

The waste varies from debris and rocks to used furniture.

Wherever it piles up, household waste follows suit just a few days later.

“On sunny days, the stench permeates my store, while on rainy days, the dumped garbage bags float on the road,” said Nguyen Hoang Anh, the 42-year-old owner of a beer store on Duong Dinh Nghe Street in Cau Giay District. 

“We tried to find the litterers but could not catch them because they often dump the waste before dawn when few people are on the street.”

Construction waste is dumped at an empty field along Duong Dinh Nghe Street in Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Construction waste is dumped at an empty field along Duong Dinh Nghe Street in Cau Giay District, Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

It is not only the empty land on Duong Dinh Nghe Street and those belonging to the nearby Nam Trung residential area, but many other vacant lots in Ba Dinh, Nam Tu Liem, Bac Tu Liem, and Hoang Mai Districts have also been forced into garbage dumps by litterers.

Hang, who has worked as a sanitation worker in Hanoi for ten years, said that she and her colleagues had no choice but to collect the dumped construction waste though that is not a part of their job.

“There are days that we have to collect several metric tons of construction waste,” Hang said.

“But that is without extra pay.”

Construction waste is dumped at an empty field along Pham Hung Street in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Construction waste is dumped at an empty field along Pham Hung Street in Nam Tu Liem District, Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

“Hanoi still does not have a construction waste treatment plant,” a representative of the municipal construction department told Tien Phong (Youth) newspaper during a discussion on Monday.

The process of handling construction waste includes crushing them, with the authorities still pondering how to use the output of the crushing stage, according to the officer.

Sanitation workers collect construction waste in Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

Sanitation workers collect construction waste in Hanoi. Photo: Q. The / Tien Phong

In the meantime, the municipal People’s Committee has passed the responsibility of tackling construction waste dumping down to district-level administrations.

While newspapers have often reported the dumping and had district-level leaders pledge to solve the issue, piles of construction waste reappear every time.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/society/20220706/construction-waste-dumping-recurs-in-hanoi/67963.html

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