Initiating a long-term plastic waste reduction strategy on Vietnam’s Con Dao Island, the “Con Dao – A Destination to Reduce Plastic” campaign has already achieved some positive results since its initial implementation in early 2022.
One of Vietnam’s most beautiful island destinations, Con Dao is one of the region’s hot spots for plastic waste. With around 17-20 tons of waste daily, data collected in July 2020 shows that the amount of untreated waste on the island’s Nhat Beach currently exceeds 70,000 tons. The plastic waste generated by tourism activities in Con Dao has reached 221.4 tons per year, with the percentage of plastic waste generated at accommodation and tourist service companies making up 33.3 percent of the total volume generated in the entire district (WWF, 2021). Plastic pollution is one of the main concerns for local authorities in the process of economic development and environmental protection.
The campaign “Con Dao – A Destination to Reduce Plastic” aims to raise awareness among tourists and encourage them to act more responsibly when visiting Con Dao. Supported by a series of practical and thought-provoking activities, the campaign has already delivered impressive results.
On March 26, 2022, a signing ceremony was held in Con Dao District between the World Wide Fund for Nature in Vietnam (WWF-Viet Nam) and the Con Dao District People’s Committee. † The new commitment lays a solid foundation to reduce plastic waste on the island and to work sustainably on a green, clean, beautiful and safe living environment for the people in the neighbourhood.
As part of the program, the participants reached out to tourists and the people of Con Dao through various creative and important activities, such as the launch of a plastic reduction week, held from March 21-27, 2022 for hotel guests and patrons of the neighborhood’s coffee shops. Many respondents to the campaign agreed to participate, of which 15 hotels were selected to provide tourism manuals on plastic reduction to educate tourists on the island. In addition, 15 coffee, beverage and tea stores were given paper cups and straws to offer eco-friendly products to replace disposable plastic items. These are the first steps to help business units pay more attention to environmental issues on the island and work towards solutions with products that can replace single-use plastics.
In addition to the participation of companies on the island, the campaign has been widely implemented through online channels such as Facebook and YouTube, providing extensive information and content in interactive forms, including a variety of images, videos, mini-games, and so on, to serve countless tourists. to help reach those who are and are coming to Con Dao. In addition, the exhibition “Plastic Beach Tourism” in conjunction with the “Garbage Exchange for Gifts Festival” held at the headquarters of the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment between March 25 and 26, 2022, was of great interest to both the local population as tourists. The exhibit showcased recycled products made from plastic waste by neighborhood kindergartens and the Trash2Art volunteer group; pictures of the environment and plastic pollution, and some eco-friendly products designed to replace single-use plastics. Games were played with information about plastic waste to attract many participants from visiting tourists, residents and children. Although the “Garbage Exchange for Gifts” program is still new to the local population, it attracted 18 participants who exchanged a total of 49.09 kg of clean plastic waste.
Ms. Nguyen Thi My Quynh, Marine Protected Areas Program Manager for Vietnam Marine Plastic Waste Reduction Project, WWF-Viet Nam, said: “Parallel with local activities, we also want to attract participation by partnering with companies and local communities to become active ambassadors to convey the message of protecting Con Dao and promoting a respectful attitude of tourists to the environment and culture of Con Dao when traveling here.”
The WWF has set itself the goal of making Con Dao the first plastic-free destination in Ba Ria-Vung Tau province by 2030. More specifically, Con Dao will aim to reduce 30 percent of the amount of plastic waste thrown away in the island district. until 2020 between 2023; reduce the amount of plastic waste by 50 percent between 2024 and 2025; and reduce plastic waste by 75 percent in the period 2026-2030.
To achieve this goal, WWF-Vietnam and the People’s Committee of Con Dao District will coordinate information and take specific actions to reduce plastic waste, such as: awareness of behavioral change towards plastic products and plastic waste through local communication networks and training programs; reviewing, amending, supplementing and completing waste management mechanisms and policies with different places; preventing and reducing ocean plastic waste from land and marine waste sources by phasing out plastic waste hotspots; introducing waste reduction models into business and everyday life; promoting local recycling and reuse activities; waste collection, classification, transport and treatment in coastal areas and at sea; and combining management, monitoring and minimization of plastic pollution in marine protected areas through cleaning activities on beaches, coral reefs, etc. The two sides have agreed to jointly develop a target plan to reduce plastic waste and commit to taking action by 2030.