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The rising problem of garbage from fishing boats

Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the amount of garbage and waste from production and fishing activities is very large. In particular, fishing vessels alone, with a length of 6m or more, generate more than 64,100 tons of plastic waste per year.

More than 70-80% of plastic waste in the sea comes from land (Photo: Mekongasean)
More than 70-80% of plastic waste in the sea comes from land (Photo: Mekongasean)

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, it is estimated that the amount of solid waste from shrimp farming into the environment is 123 tons/crop/hectare, the wastewater is more than 5,000 m3, and the sludge from catfish farming is nearly 33.3 tons (including mud and water). Along with that, fishing vessels of the whole country with a length of 6m or more have generated more than 64,100 tons of plastic waste per year. The amount of waste lost to the sea mainly from domestic sources is 2,288 tons/year and a part from passively lost fishing nets.

According to Dr. Tran Van Vinh, Deputy Director of Binh Dinh Fisheries Sub-Department, “Investigation shows that for 10 fishing boats exploited in one sea, they discharged a very terrible amount of domestic waste from the crew members, especially plastic bottles, 138.6kg, and aluminum cans is 28.68kg and the amount of plastic bags used to store and preserve aquatic products on fishing boats is 58.25kg. Since then, for 300 fishing vessels that dock at Quy Nhon Fishing Port each month, after 1 fishing trip, these 300 fishing vessels have discharged into the ocean the amount of plastic waste of 4,158 tons, and the amount of aluminum cans is 0.86 tons. When coming ashore, the amount of plastic bags containing and preserving seafood products is 1.75 tons".

The alarming problem is that plastic waste, after being discharged by fishermen into the sea, will be very difficult to decompose, as a result, creating great pressure on the marine environment. Especially, as plastic bottles float on the water for a long time, they will be heated by sunlight and will be broken but not decomposed, creating millions of plastic molecules floating in the ocean waves. These plastic molecules when entering animals' stomachs will not decompose, and hence become harmful to the health of the animals.

Innovative solutions for a more sustainable future

From 2021, Phu Quoc has issued Plan No. 113/KH-PKT dated March 16, 2021 on implementing actions to reduce the disposal of household waste, hazardous waste and fishing gear directly into the sea. Economic Department of the City People's Committee in Phu Quoc has cooperated with the International Organisation for Conservation of Nature in Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) and Khai Hoan Trading Joint Stock Company to build and pilot the model "Fisher train against plastic waste ocean" from November 2022. Since the launching ceremony, propaganda and instruction, 26 fishing vessels and 2 seafood collection vessels have participated in the model, collecting ocean plastic waste, bringing garbage to shore for proper treatment.

Fishermen receive trash cans placed on fishing boats to collect garbage rom during their trips to shore (Photo: V.D.T)
Fishermen receive trash cans placed on fishing boats to collect garbage rom during their trips to shore (Photo: V.D.T)

The monitoring results of the model implementation from February to April 2022 show that on average, each fishing vessel brings back 160-180kg of garbage after every 15-20 days. The main waste composition is salt bags (90%), the rest is recycled waste (plastic bottles, beer cans) accounting for about 10%. Thus, for each return trip to the sea, Khai Hoan fishing fleet collects from 4 to 4.5 tons of garbage, of which the amount of recyclable waste is about 500kg.

It is more important than ever before for fishermen to be aware of the consequences of not protecting the sea environment, as it is their main source of income. Moreover, in the coming time, it is recommended that relevant agencies need to work with the local communities to develop and issue regulations specifically on the management of collection and treatment of domestic waste on fishing vessels and at fishing ports, at the same time, strengthening the inspection and handling violations for fishing vessels that do not comply with regulations on plastic waste management on ships when entering and exiting fishing ports.

Source: the Internet



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