Nguyen Huu Ninh is GRET’s representative in Vietnam. He has been working for the NGO for twenty years, implementing and supporting projects focusing on various subject areas, such as nutrition, agriculture and waste management. With a master’s degree in economic expertise and international project management, Ninh is currently working on a project aimed at strengthening the capacities of stakeholders in the household waste management sector (Pro 3).
What are the main issues relating to waste management in Vietnam, and more specifically in the province of Vinh Phuc?
Contrary to many developing or emerging countries, the rate of household waste collection is relatively high in Vietnam, including in rural areas. However, it is necessary to consider a certain number of key stakeholders in the country and more specifically in the province of Vinh Phuc with regards waste management.
The first issue relating to waste management in Vietnam is the high level of economic growth in the country. Since 2000, the average annual rate of GDP growth is 6.3 %! Sound economic health has generated an increase in the volume of waste. In 2012, the quantity of household waste produced on a daily basis was 35,068 tons; we estimate that this figure will have doubled by 2025 to reach 72,909 tons per day (source: World Bank). So this is a substantial problem for the country.
In addition, waste treatment sites are saturated. There are many reasons for this, the first among them being lack of investment and available space. But the increase in the quantity of waste and the fact that it is very rarely recycled also contribute to this saturation. It should also be noted that these sites create environmental problems by not respecting environmental protection standards.
Lastly, very few resources are mobilised to ensure control and supervision of the household waste management service.
What are the main objectives of the Pro 3 project?
Initially, the Pro 3 project is aiming to contribute to reducing saturation and the impact on the environment of waste treatment sites. Various solutions are being implemented: optimum development of these sites, provision of support to the waste recycling and re-use sector, and provision of support to local authorities for control and monitoring of the service.
The project also aims to strengthen the capacities of waste management stakeholders. To do this, training and awareness-raising activities are organised. Workplace risks, knowledge of the legal framework, waste treatment site management, initiation in management, etc. All aspects relating to waste management are covered. In addition, the creation of a credit fund for the renewal of waste collection equipment was also initiated.
Pro 3 must also encourage dialogue and discussions between waste management stakeholders. To meet this objective, various actions were carried out, such as the creation of an operators network, the organisation of field trips, thematic workshops and meetings between operators and local authorities.
What types of support and expertise does GRET provide in terms of waste management in Vietnam?
GRET provides financial and technical support, leading to the improvement of household waste treatment and recycling sites. Composting, worm-composting and cement recycling sites were improved by the NGO, which also enabled the installation of a sorting line.
The awareness-raising and training activities deployed by GRET as part of this project should also be noted. Several communication media and diverse activities were completed: radio messages, TV reports, poster campaigns, events in primary and secondary schools, etc. Lastly, GRET is providing support to the sub-department of Environmental Protection to update regulations on awarding of grants by the province to waste management operators. The NGO is drawing up recommendations for the province on breakdown of the budget for environmental protection.