Expats in Vietnam urged to back drive to eliminate plastics usage

Published:  2 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, South Africa
Expats living and working in Vietnam are being urged to limit their plastics usage as more facts emerge about the effects of the scourge on the planet and its species.

The throwaway society which gave rise to the overuse of plastics isn’t just confined to the West, as its effects are being felt across the whole of Asia including Vietnam. Litter is now an environmental hazard for humans as well as being a danger to water and land dwelling species alike. The populations of developing countries in Southeast Asia are serious and serial offenders, with trillions of plastic bags being given out annually by traders in local markets, street food being sold in plastic containers and water in plastic bottles complete with plastic straws. Expats ordering meals are faced with plastic containers and cutlery presented in plastic bags. It seems that giving up the stuff is almost impossible.

Expats in Vietnam are becoming more conscious of the need to do their best to stop using plastics, with one alternative, bamboo straws, already gaining ground. One reason why expatriates choose Vietnam or its adjoining Southeast Asian countries is their stunning natural beauty, now being eroded by the piles of plastic rubbish scattered almost everywhere. One expat group, operative in Hanoi, is doing its collective best to educate residents in eco-friendly alternatives for food containers, shopping and even water containers, and a few supermarkets are experimenting with leaves as wrappings for vegetables and fruits. Other groups are spending their free time clearing plastics from the local environment.

Choosing to buy from businesses, restaurants and traders who are making an attempt to use biodegradable wrappings is a start, even if what you’re buying costs a little more. Hopefully, those still using plastics will be snubbed by aware consumers and either follow suit or go out of business. In Hanoi’s close-knit expatriate community, many Vietnamese suppliers are friends, able to support initiatives aimed at saving species by not using non-biodegradable material. The Hanoi expat group is possibly the first of many across the region, but society in general must be persuaded to follow suit.
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