Managing our waste well to breathe better
VietReader 10-10-2020, 07:58
Managing our waste well to breathe better
Landfilling or incineration of waste pollutes water and air.
Photo: Hoang Hung /VNA /CVN

About 70% of the volume of solid waste in Vietnam goes to landfills. This treatment method costs a lot in surface area and therefore in land, in addition to posing a serious risk of water and air pollution, severely affecting the health of residents who live near these landfills.
It is also a major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GHGs are gases that absorb part of the sun's rays by redistributing them in the form of radiation within the earth's atmosphere, a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect.
More than forty GHGs have been identified, including water vapor (H 2 O), carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), Methane (CH 4 .), Ozone (O 3 )… GHGs can arise in particular from the burial and incineration of solid waste, the combustion of fossil fuels (petroleum, coal) as well as treatment and discharge of wastewater.
The Department of Science, Technology and Environment, reporting
of the Ministry of Construction, conducted a study on the treatment of solid waste during the period 2014-2017 which shows that the burial of solid waste is a particularly harmful and inefficient method from an environmental point of view.
In 2014 the amount of CO2 emissions amounted to approximately 7.1 million tonnes of which solid waste landfill activities accounted for 6.5 million tonnes, or 93% of the total volume. In 2017 of the 9.1 million tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, landfill accounted for 8.1 million.
However, according to the study, electricity production in Vietnam could benefit from an additional 200 MW from the incineration of 200 to 400 tonnes of household waste per day, this combustion being able to further reduce the volume of GHG emissions. 60% compared to the landfill method.
Carbon pricing

Carbon pricing makes it possible to implement the polluter pays principle for greenhouse gases. Photo: Trong Lich /VNA /CVN

To reduce GHG emissions from landfilling waste, Luu Minh Huong, Department of Science, Technology and Environment, recommended that provinces and cities upgrade their waste treatment technologies. According to her, reducing GHG emissions and securing socio-economic development goals are issues that arise for all countries.
The measures chosen must help countries not only to meet their international commitments to reduce GHG emissions but also to maintain energy and food security as well as social well-being.
This problem can only be solved when countries have the right direction in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore necessary to determine the main sources of emissions and the factors affecting the volume of GHG emissions in order to find and propose the appropriate policies. Apart from raising awareness among residents and renewing technologies in waste management and treatment, carbon pricing is an incentive measure currently being studied by Vietnam.
Carbon pricing makes it possible to set up the polluter pays principle for greenhouse gases, commonly in the form of a carbon tax or an obligation to purchase polluting permits, better known under the names of emission cap and trade system or emission allowance trading system.
The D r . Truong Duc Tri, deputy director of the Department of Climate Change, under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, recognizes that carbon pricing will provide new opportunities for investors and businesses to buy and sell carbon credits while by creating new directions in environmental protection.
Thus, in addition to the objective of responding to climate change, carbon pricing helps protect the environment and encourage the renewal of technologies for more low-carbon economic growth. However, the choice of a pricing method in accordance with the context of each country is very important for its sustainable development. In particular, it is necessary to adopt a set of tools and measures such as the development and publication of a system for identifying and monitoring GHG emissions, in order to price, train and develop the carbon market. It is also necessary to establish in advance the guidelines for reducing GHG emissions for each sector and to assess the opportunities and impacts for the economy, society and the environment.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
A stocktaking meeting of the second phase (FCPF-2) of the "Assistance in Preparations for the Implementation of the REDD + Program" (Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions) Project recently took place in Hanoi. This project, implemented from November 2016 to June 302020 in Hanoi and six provinces, mobilized an investment of nearly US $ 5.7 million, of which US $ 5 million in non-repayable aid comes from the Forest Carbon Partnership Fund ( FCPE), entrusted through the World Bank (WB). The project aims to improve the institutional and technical capacity of relevant agencies in Hanoi and the six mentioned provinces in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. REDD + is an international initiative to provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries with the aim of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to climate change mitigation. Vietnam has participated in the REDD + program since 2008 and to date, more than 45 projects have been implemented.

Huong Linh /CVN
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