Da Nang, 26 June 2018 – Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) together with the UN Development Programmes, UNHabitat, IUCN, international organizations held a programme titled “Joining hands to protect the ocean” in the central coastal city of Da Nang on June 26 in response to one of the themes of the 6th Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) which is taking place in Da Nang. 

Addressing the programme’s launch, MoNRE Deputy Minister Vo Tuan Nhan said the increasing volume of trash, especially plastic oceanic waste, is threatening the beauty of Da Nang, which has won numerous titles such as the best city for living in Vietnam or one of the most favourite destinations in the world in 2015. 

He stressed that plastic trash has become a big threat to the world’s oceans in general and Vietnam’s seas in particular, calling on ministries, agencies, local administrations, organisations, businesses and individuals to join hands with the Natural Resources and Environment sector to carry out regular and effective campaigns to clean up the beaches, thus preserving the marine environment. 

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif told the event that marine pollution is one of the biggest concerns nowadays, which is worsening at a pace unseen before due to waste from industrial and agricultural production as well as daily life. She cited statistics of the World Economic Forum that around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste were discharged into the ocean every year, while 3 billion people around the world rely on the ocean for their livelihoods. Therefore, it is necessary to raise people’s awareness about marine trash and community responsibility in managing and protecting the marine environment. 

The Executive Coordinator of UNDP Global Environmental Finance Adriana Dinu said with 3,000 km of coast, Vietnam contributes to and also is affected by marine plastics. She stressed that with 20 percent of its GDP comes from marine resources, Vietnam must take necessary measures to protect and restore the ocean. She also highlighted three actions to make a difference. "First, let’s commit to act. Let’s collect and dispose of waste in the right places and stop littering in public places. Let’s use local, environmentally-friendly products, and reduce our consumption of single use plastic products. Second, let’s improve land-based planning and waste management. As more than 80 percent of the waste that ends in the sea comes from activities taking place on the mainland, we must integrate our management of river basins, coasts and land use. Third, global and regional coordinated and joint actions, and strong private sector engagement, are essential because a single country cannot deal with the regional and global nature of ocean pollution alone. Waste is produced locally but its impacts are regional and global. Let’s share our experiences and lessons among countries."

After the launch, more than 600 delegates, students of different universities and local residents collected trash and cleaned up the beaches, and planted trees.

More information:
Read: Remark by Ms. Adriana Dinu, UNDP Executive Coordinator, Global Environmental Finance, at the "Join hands to protect oceans" event
Or contact: Phan Huong Giang, UNDP Climate Change & Environment Media and Communications Analyst, email: phan.huong.giang@undp.org

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