Waste separation in Vietnam: Require more than just fines

According to Decree 45/2002, effective from August 25, on sanctioning administrative violations in the field of environmental protection and failure to separate waste, or failing to use packages containing domestic solid waste according to regulations will be fined from 500,000 to 1,000,000 VND. However, the question of waste collection remains unsolved, leading to the ineffectiveness of the requirement.


According to the "State of the National Environment Report 2016-2020" published by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment at the end of 2021, the amount of domestic solid waste continues to increase nationwide, an average of 64,658 tons/day. The estimated amount of MSW in urban areas increases on average 10-16%/year (with a total generated volume of 35,624 tons/day, more than 13 million tons/year, accounting for 55% of the total MSW generated in the country). According to statistical results in the period 2016-2019, the rate of urban solid waste collection and treatment increased by an average of 2% per year, most of which was treated only by rudimentary burial. The separation of waste has not been implemented regularly, widely and asynchronously with collection and treatment activities.


A typical scene of waste collection in Vietnam (VOV)
A typical scene of waste collection in Vietnam (VOV)

Since the implementation of the new requirement, most people are unsure of the procedure, as there are many views that the garbage classification also needs to be unified from the people, the collection unit to the treatment company. Because so far, it is not known how people do the classification, but the collection unit still only has one garbage truck, one box and quickly puts all the garbage in one trip. So, is it really useful for people to sort from home?!


In addition, in most apartment blocks, people's waste treatment system was designed with exhaust pipes to collect waste. This means that people pour garbage into a pre-made pipe system, garbage from floors falls directly to the garbage house on the 1st floor. The garbage collection cellar contains all kinds of garbage from food, plastic bags, plastic bottles, glass bottles, etc., hence it will take a great amount of time and financial resource to redesign the current system, educate residents and waste collectors.


In apartment blocks, garbage pipes make it almost impossible to sort waste
In apartment blocks, garbage pipes make it almost impossible to sort waste

Separation of household waste has become an urgent issue, as one of the only ways to help Vietnam tackle the rising problem of domestic waste. If implemented well, it will bring many economic and environmental benefits. However, in order for the garbage classification to be effective as desired, it is necessary to have a specific route, not just stop at the punishment, to avoid arising unnecessary frustrations.


The campaign "Exchange recyclables for gifts" run by URENCO in Hanoi to encourage and educate citizens about waste sorting
The campaign "Exchange recyclables for gifts" run by URENCO in Hanoi to encourage and educate citizens about waste sorting

More information on the waste management in Hanoi: Hanoi Urban Environment Company – URENCO


Decree No. 45/2022/ND-CP stipulating penalties for administrative violations in the field of environmental protection:

  • A fine ranging from VND 100,000 to VND 150,000 shall be imposed for discarding, disposing or disposing of cigarette butts or heads at the wrong place in apartment, commercial, service or public places.

  • A fine ranging from VND 150,000 to VND 250,000 shall be imposed for acts of personal hygiene (urinating, defecating) at the wrong place in apartment, commercial, service or public places.

  • A fine ranging from VND 500,000 to VND 1,000,000 shall be imposed for the act of dumping, disposing, disposing of garbage, or dumping wastewater at the wrong place in an apartment, commercial, service or public place.

  • A fine ranging from VND 1,000,000 to VND 2,000,000 shall be imposed for dumping, disposing or disposing of garbage on sidewalks, roadways or into urban wastewater drainage systems; dumping wastewater in contravention of regulations on sidewalks and street beds; Dispose of plastic waste generated from daily life into ponds, lakes, canals, rivers, streams, sea...



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