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Vietnam seeks technologies to turn waste into resources

More than 77 percent of solid waste in Vietnam is buried, while 80 percent of landfills are unhygienic.

More than 77 percent of solid waste is buried
More than 77 percent of solid waste is buried

The decomposition of waste generates carcinogens.

A report from the Ministry of Construction (MOC) showed that 32,000-35,000 tons of solid waste is discharged every day in Vietnam, of which 45 percent is from Hanoi and HCMC. The solid waste is generated during industrial production, healthcare activities and daily life.

It is estimated that the amount of solid waste is increasing by 10 percent per annum. 85 percent of solid waste in inner cities is collected, while the figure is 60 percent in the suburbs and 40-55 percent in rural areas.

Most of the solid waste is buried, harming the earth, water and air. Vietnam is well aware of the danger the waste can bring and has been using different measures to deal with it. But the results remain modest.

Nguyen Quang from UN Habitat Vietnam, said some waste treatment plants in the country can produce microbiological fertilizer from waste. However, many plants use outdated technologies.

Meanwhile, waste treatment plants complain they encounter difficulties in operation because the waste is not sorted at source.

Nguyen Thi Quang, former secretary general of the Vietnam Urban Area Association, said Vietnam has no other choice than to follow the moves of developed countries to consider waste as resources which can generate electricity and make microbiological fertilizer.

Vinh believes that in the immediate time Vietnam needs to call for investments in projects on collecting, transporting, treating and recycling solid waste which fit local conditions.

She also suggested equitizing state-owned enterprises which provide domestic solid-waste management services.

The technology of turning waste into electricity and microbiological fertilizer is used in some cities and provinces, including Dong Thap, HCMC, Binh Duong, Hanoi and Ninh Thuan.

However, Vinh pointed out that the plants use a small amount of waste.

Meanwhile, investors are reluctant to pour money into waste treatment projects because organic fertilizer products made by some plants remain unsold. Farmers do not buy products made from waste as they do not have necessary information.

Experts from the Energy Support Program have repeatedly urged Vietnam to invest in modern technologies to increase solid waste treatment capacity. If Vietnam can turn waste into power, it will not only mitigate pollution risks, but also save land.

Experts believe that WTE, waste-to-energy technology, used in many developed countries is also applicable to Vietnam.