The Ministry of Health on August 15 held an online conference with 63 cities and provinces on taking measures to lower plastic waste in the healthcare sector.
The event, which attracted the participation of ministries, leaders of cities and provinces, and businesses, as well as representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), shows strong determination to cut the volume of plastic waste in the healthcare sector in the months to come.
“Plastic is a multifunctional material, and is light, durable, and has a reasonable price. It is popularly used in various fields and sectors, including healthcare. However, plastic waste has become a global environmental pollutant because of its duration and difficulties in decomposition, seriously affecting the environment and people’s health,” said Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Kim Tien.
“The country now has more than 13,000 health facilities with around 150 million inpatients and 450 million outpatients annually. Thus, the volume of plastic waste is huge,” she added.
At the conference, a number of commitments were signed between leaders and hospitals to work towards plastic reduction. Accordingly, Minister Tien and central-level hospitals namely Viet Duc University Hospital, K Hospital, Bach Mai Hospital, and Hanoi School of Public Health (HSPH) signed commitments on action. Also, hospitals and leaders of cities and provinces made similar vows.
Plastic waste is now a global issue. It is estimated that over 700 species globally are negatively affected by plastic pollution. According to statistics from the European Commission, about 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic products have been produced up to 2018. In addition, about 6.3 billion tonnes of plastics have become waste, and about five billion tonnes still remain in the environment or buried. Annually, a total of 4.8-12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste are discharged into the ocean.
In April, the prime minister issued Document No.161/LDCP, calling on political organisations, ministries, agencies from central to the local levels, associations, businesses, and the community to reduce plastic waste.
In line with the PM’s instruction, the MoH on July 29 issued Directive No.08/CT-BYT on decreasing plastic waste in the sector. The country targets eliminating single-use plastic products by 2025.