Vietnamese firms to tackle plastic pollution in Ha Long Bay
  • | VNA | February 11, 2021 09:00 AM
Three Vietnamese companies have won a regional challenge to combat plastic waste in Ha Long Bay.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), the Vietnam Administration of Sea and Islands (VASI), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have announced the four winners of the ASEAN-wide Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) to combat plastic waste in Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui (Thailand).


Ha Long Bay (photo: VNA)

EPPIC, which was launched in June 2020 in Ha Long City, drew 159 teams from Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Malaysia to the challenge with a broad range of solutions to tackle plastic pollution.

Fourteen teams were selected as the EPPIC finalists and undertook a three-month incubation programme combining technical training about the circular economy, waste management, and business development skills with field trips to Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui.

The finalists contributed to accelerating the transition to a circular economy of plastic in the ASEAN region with solutions to address plastic pollution, such as alternative materials, recycling technologies, models that foster re-use, community-based clean-ups, education campaigns and mobile apps.

The four EPPIC winners are Galaxy Biotech, Green Joy and Refill Day from Vietnam, and CIRAC from Thailand.

The firms have each been awarded a 18,000 USD grant to apply the solutions in Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui, and will be enrolled in a nine-month impact acceleration programme delivered by UNDP Impact Aim, with opportunities to connect with impact investing firms and other key development players in ASEAN.

In the coming months, UNDP and VASI will work with the local authorities in Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui for the implementation of the innovations selected and incubated by the EPPIC project.

The aim is to support the uptake of these innovations into the project sites and accelerate the scale-up and replication of these solutions in Vietnam, Thailand, and ASEAN states to contribute to reducing plastic pollution.

Director General of the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI), Ta Dinh Thi said: “The results of the competition show the diffusion of the spirit of environmental protection and the responsibility of the community to solve the current global problem, plastic waste – a requirement throughout the sustainable development process.”

“The EPPIC winners have pitched outstanding, innovative ideas to tackle plastic pollution and we are keen to working with them and our partners from the Governments of Vietnam and Thailand to implement the solutions in Ha Long Bay and Koh Samui,” said UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, Caitlin Wiesen.

“We are also delighted to extend the EPPIC Challenge to Indonesia and the Philippines and welcome all innovators from ASEAN to apply. We believe there is a significant opportunity for innovators from ASEAN countries to play a leading role in the fight against plastic pollution,” she said.

“Norad is proud to support UNDP Vietnam’s Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC), as a part of Norway’s development programme to combat marine litter. We need to come together, collaborate, and innovate to stop plastic pollution from reaching our oceans. We are impressed with these entrepreneurs' commitment to creating healthier environments and good jobs in a circular economy by reducing plastic pollution” said Stig Ingemar Traavik, Director for the Department for Climate, Energy and Environment of Norad.

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