Launch of the Campaign “From the Mountains to the Sea – Beat Plastic Pollution” and “Plastic Pollution Story” Photo Contest Award Ceremony

Hanoi, January 24th, 2022 – The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Viet Nam Administration of Sea and Islands (VASI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment have launched the campaign “From the Mountains to the Sea – Beat Plastic Pollution” and honored the winning works from the photo contest “Plastic Pollution Story”. The new campaign calls for action to reduce, reuse, and recycle single-use plastic waste.

Attending these two events were UNDP representatives from four ASEAN countries (Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines), VASI, the Viet Nam Environment Administration, the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment, the Institute of Fisheries, Economics, and Planning, the Norwegian Embassy, the Quang Ninh Farmers’ Union, and the Women’s Unions of Da Nang city and Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, and Binh Duong provinces.

Our planet is drowning in plastic waste. Every year, we discharge 300 million tons of plastic waste, which is equivalent to the weight of everyone on Earth, and only 9% is recycled. Humans consume more than 5 trillion plastic bags every year, equivalent to more than 160,000 bags per second. The number of plastic bags consumed in 1 hour can be wrapped 7 times around the Earth if placed next to each other. Every minute that passes, the world consumes 1 million plastic water bottles.

Mr. Dao Xuan Lai, Head of Climate Change and Environmental Unit, UNDP Viet Nam had opening remarks

Speaking at the event, Mr. Dao Xuan Lai, Head of the Climate Change and Environment Unit at UNDP Viet Nam, emphasized that “We see images of a male pilot whale that died and washed up on a beach in Thailand after swallowing 80 plastic bags, turtles caught in six-pack rings, or a tiny seahorse coiling its tail into a plastic cotton swab. Plastic products wash up on beaches all over the world every day from Viet Nam and Indonesia to the coasts of Africa, and the canals of cities are increasingly overflowing with plastic waste. Obviously, we have to review and rethink our actions, from production and consumption all the way through to disposal.”

Mr. Jan Wilhelm Grythe, Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission for the Norwegian Embassy in Viet Nam, shared: “Plastic pollution is one the biggest environmental threats for humans today. Plastics are not only polluting our oceans and killing marine life, but also threatening the lives of future generations. This is a common problem that no single person nor single country can solve. It requires joint efforts. Everyone has a role to play in order to beat plastic pollution. Norway takes pride in our partnership with UNDP Viet Nam and the local authorities of the five Vietnamese cities/provinces in carrying out this project. I am happy to see it being scaled up. There is no better time than now to change the way we live and raise community awareness about the harmful effects of plastics. Let’s work together on this. Every action counts.”

The campaign “From the Mountains to the Sea – Beat Plastic Pollution,” which will be implemented over the course of six months, reminds everyone, whether living in mountainous, plain, or coastal areas, to contribute to the common effort to reduce plastic waste and return blue to the sea. The campaign delivers three key messages: “Choose to look at the truth and be socially responsible”; “Don’t be afraid to choose the right path, even though it is a different and difficult path”; and “Modern people are not afraid to take action to choose a green lifestyle for themselves and for everyone.”

Participants discussed on the Campaign and the Photo Contest

As part of the campaign’s series of activities, UNDP Viet Nam will also organize seminars and practical activities both online and in person in the five provinces of Binh Duong, Binh Dinh, Binh Thuan, Da Nang, and Quang Ninh, including workshops on how to replace or dispose of single-use plastic products; workshops on developing the local tourism industry in a sustainable way, combined with a beach cleanup; and workshops on how to sort garbage at home.

Talk show: “Joint action to reduce plastic waste in the ocean”

In addition, UNDP also introduced “San Rac” (“Trash Hunt” in English, website: http://sanrac.undp.org.vn), a mobile application used to report and monitor all spontaneous and illegal landfills in Viet Nam. Users can take pictures and record information on the application about illegal garbage spots on the “San Rac” map, thereby helping the local government, stakeholders, and people to handle it in a timely manner.

At the event, the best works of the “Plastic Pollution Story” photo contest were also honored and awarded. The three A prize winners were “The plastic waste issue” by Nguyen Doan Ket, “A young CEO with a passion for waste collection in Da Nang: 10 years of volunteer seabed cleanup” by Nguyen Giang Nam, and “Plastic recycling” by Tran Van Tuyen. The three B prizes went to the works “Let’s protect our living environment” by Pham Van Thanh, “Nature is calling for help” by Dinh Ngoc Bao, and “No more plastic” by the Youth Union of Binh Thuan Vocational School. The C prize winners were the works “Where we live” by Nguyen Ngoc Son, “Fish aren’t the only things being set free into the Da river on the Kitchen Gods’ Day” by Luu Trong Dat, and “Silent work” by Kha Thanh Tri Dat. Honorary mentions included “Plastic waste is killing marine animals” by Pham Hong Manh, “The footsteps of waste” by Nguyen Thi Ly Giang, “Nature’s call for help” by Nguyen Trang Kim Cuong, “Hero at a wharf” by Vo Hoai Nam, and “Reflection” by the group of authors Do Thuy Linh, Hoang Nhat Minh, and Nguyen Quynh Hoa.

The photo contest “Plastic Pollution Story,” which ran for three months from February 5 to May 15 2021, received a total of 8,434 works from students and lecturers at more than 40 universities, colleges, and high schools, journalists from more than 30 press agencies, photographers from the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists, and more than 20 local photography clubs across the country. Details of the contest are posted on the website: http://photocompetition.undp.org.vn/.

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