Submitted by Vietnam Environment Administration

(Note: The Vietnam Environment Administration did not prioritize waste streams and areas of capacity-building)

Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
Highest priority areas of capacity building
Narrative summary
Several overarching issues are mentioned in Vietnam (Environment Administration)’s responses to the needs assessment survey. Firstly, the lack of waste segregation appears a key area for capacity-building. Organic and plastic waste, in national policy and in the practice of local communities, is mostly untreated and disposed alongside MSW. Waste segregation is thus crucial to activities such as recycling and recovery. Secondly, the country’s technical capacity for waste management needs to be improved. Small-sized incinerators are currently used to deal with large quantities and different types of hazardous or industrial waste; better equipment and trained personnel are needed. Finally, the coordination among some institutions is poor, causing difficulties in implementing waste policies. Institutions such as the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development should ensure that WAB management efforts are not duplicated, and that gaps are identified and addressed.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
Capacity-building is required across all areas regarding MSW management in Vietnam. While policies for MSW management are in existence, implementation levels are low. Firstly, technical capacity should be developed. The country has the unfulfilled potential to research and evaluate new methods of MSW management, but a source of funding and adequately skilled human resources will be needed. Secondly, to improve the enforcement levels of legislation, the coordination between institutions responsible for MSW management should be strengthened. Finally, community participation in MSW management is needed, given that the public are generators of this waste stream. Waste segregation, in particular, should be promoted.

Waste plastics
In Vietnamese law, waste plastics are not differentiated from other MSW. A separate policy for the segregation and recycling of waste plastics therefore needs to be developed. Nevertheless, the technical capacity for the recycling of waste plastics has yet to be built up. A source of funding will be needed for the procurement of equipment and construction of facilities. Finally, the public must be involved in efforts to separately manage waste plastics. Practices such as waste segregation need to be promoted through awareness campaigns.

Organic waste
In Vietnamese law, organic waste is not differentiated from other MSW. Separate policies and regulations for the management of organic waste need to be developed. Institutional strengthening of authorities will be required to ensure that the enforcement of new regulations is effective, and that the responsibilities of ministries do not overlap. While composting is already practiced by some in the country, the quality of the compost produced is low. Research towards better and larger-scale composting technologies will be needed; hence funds will need to be made available.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
Policies on the use of WAB exist in Vietnam. However, institutional capacity for policy implementation is lacking. While the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is responsible for waste management in general, WAB also falls under the scope of activities of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Coordination between the two will be required in the development and implementation of methods of using WAB as a resource. Technical equipment will also need to be purchased, necessitating a better source of funds. Finally, the agricultural sector should be informed of the potential value and uses of WAB, so that farmers get encouraged to readily contribute to waste management activities.

Industrial waste
Capacity-building is generally required across all areas with regards to industrial waste management in Vietnam. While industrial waste legislation exists, it needs to be better enforced by relevant institutions. The responsibilities of ministries and organizations are not sufficiently clear and overlapping in tasks may occur. A framework for the delegation of responsibilities in policy enforcement is thus needed. Vietnam’s technical capacity for industrial waste management must also be improved. Equipment and technology is often rudimentary, or unsuited to the waste generated by the country. Funding for the procurement of new waste collection and treatment equipment will also be needed. Finally, waste management activities at source would be welcomed. Technical guidelines should be made available and environmental awareness should be improved among waste generators.

Hazardous waste
In Vietnam, hazardous waste is sometimes treated, but efforts need to be expanded considerably. While policies on hazardous waste exist, they are insufficient in ensuring that treatment and safe disposal always takes place. Firstly, technical capacity needs to be strengthened. Hazardous waste is mostly treated in small incinerators, but the country requires treatment facilities or alternative technologies to address larger quantities of waste. Improving technical capacity will require a sound source of funds. Secondly, the public must be made aware of the risks of hazardous waste. Targets of awareness campaigns must include village communities with little prior education on health and environmental issues. Finally, while there is good coordination among governmental institutions responsible for hazardous waste, coordination in the private sector must be improved. Efforts must be made to ensure that all hazardous waste generation is covered (such as by contract) by licensed waste treatment firms. Waste generation, transportation, and disposal activities must therefore be better coordinated.

In Vietnam, e-waste is considered a subcategory of hazardous waste, and is not addressed by a policy on its own. It would be beneficial for e-waste management if specific regulatory requirements to be made. The country currently does not have the technical capacity to treat e-waste on a large scale. Research for technological development is thus needed; of particular interest is the area of e-waste recycling. Funds will also be needed to improve technical capacity, including for the procurement of equipment. Finally, the responsibilities of various ministries in implementing e-waste treatment, recycling, and disposal will have to be made clear in order to avoid the institutional problems of, such as, overlapping tasks.

Healthcare waste
Legislation and policies for the treatment of healthcare waste exist in Vietnam, but enforcement capacity will need to be improved. Skilled human resources and technical equipment for the management of healthcare waste are lacking. Small and old incinerators need to be replaced, and technical guidelines need to be developed, targeting waste generators. Funds will be needed for this purpose. Finally, there are overlaps in the responsibilities of various ministries regarding healthcare waste management. The implementation of e-waste policies would be more efficient if the roles and responsibilities of institutions were clarified.