Warnings: Vietnam’s in risk of becoming a global e-waste


Much of the world’s electronic waste ends up in Vietnam — not only cell phones, computers, printers and TVs, but also items many people may not think of when they consider e-waste, such as washing machines, microwaves and fans. This waste is often burned or dumped in landfills where toxicants such as arsenic, mercury, lead and cadmium are released into the air or leach into the water. Perhaps most concerning, domestic e-waste is growing by about 25 percent each year in Vietnam, with up to 113,000 metric tons (124,500 tons) discarded last year.
For years, the Ministry of Public Security’s Department for Combating Environmental Crime discovered that many firms and companies in Vietnam illegally imported tonnes of electronics spare parts and equipment, including  used electronic products like used laptops, computer screens, used electronic chip panels, computer chargers,… These environmental crimes are among hundreds of similar cases exposed since last year by the authorities. The most typical is the Formosa waste disposals in central provinces which caused the worst environmental disaster in Vietnam.
Vietnam’s Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (INEST) recently announced an e-waste survey of over 1,000 people, 68 enterprises, 67 e-waste collectors and 36 electronics appliance stores in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Results showed that over the past five years, cell phones were discarded most, while several thousand laptops, computers, refrigerators and air-conditioners were also discarded. The items were either thrown away or recycled by small-scale dealers.
“In Vietnam, the level of public awareness regarding waste electric and electronic equipment (WEEE) is currently very limited, particularly in terms of hazardous waste,” said INEST director Huynh Trung Hai.
Vietnam’s scientific and technological development does not keep up with the world and the country’s global integration. The country has signed new-generation free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreements, Europe-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement. However, no positive move in the field of science and technology have been included in this process. So, Vietnam is facing the risk of becoming a technological waste dump, reducing the economy’s competitiveness and limiting its development as the import of technology and equipment is not well managed.
According to INEST, the volume of e-waste in Vietnam is increasing rapidly due to the sharp increase in product demand. It is estimated that by 2020 there will be about 161,000 TVs, 97,000 computers, 178,000 refrigerators, 136,000 washing machines, and 97,000 air-conditioners discarded in Hanoi. Meanwhile, e-waste in Ho Chi Minh City will include 700,000 TVs, 290,000 computers, 424,000 refrigerators, 339,000 washing machines, and 330,000 air-conditioners.
Vietnam tried to address this problem by requiring electronics producers to collect and process the e-waste generated by their products. Under the prime ministerial Decision 50/2013/QD-TTg dated August 9, 2013 on the collection and treatment of discarded products, from January 1, 2015, manufacturers of electronic products will be responsible for receiving and treating/recycling electronic waste such as computers, printers, fax machines, scanners, cameras, camcorders, mobile phones, copiers, TVs, refrigerators, air-conditioners and washing machines.
Annually, producers must report the quantity of units manufactured or imported which have been sold in Vietnam, and results of retrieval and disposal of discarded products in accordance with guidelines of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. At present, producers are not obliged to provide this kind of information.
In general, Vietnam has sufficient laws on environmental supervision and protection. A number of laws in this field have been enacted by the National Assembly namely Law on Environment Protection, Law on Water Resources, Land Law and Law on Biology. The most important thing is that these laws be implemented effectively./.
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All comments [ 10 ]

Love Peace 9/2/17 18:54

A lot of lessons have been drawn from the environmental [pollution] incident caused by Formosa. The serious consequence on the environment were attributed to the country’s low science and technological level and loose management. This is the biggest lesson.

Pack Cassiopian 9/2/17 18:56

If technological supervision of projects, particularly foreign invested ones, had been tighter and the import of backward technology had been prevented, the environment would not have been affected.

Gentle Moon 9/2/17 18:57

Stop polluting the environment. We must do something now!

Jane smartnic 9/2/17 19:00

Out of date technology is still used in a number of plants producing cement, sugar and sugar cane factories and mining exploitation. This directly affects the efficiency and competiveness of the country’s economy.

John Smith 9/2/17 19:17

The National Assembly is revising the Law on Technology Transfer to create a positive change in environmental protection.

LawrenceSamuels 9/2/17 19:18

It was necessary for the Law on Technology Transfer to be revised completely to create an adequate and a compatible legal corridor as well as put an end to the import of out-of-date technology and equipment.

yobro yobro 9/2/17 20:35

Annually, producers must report the quantity of units manufactured or imported which have been sold in Vietnam, and results of retrieval and disposal of discarded products in accordance with guidelines of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

MaskOf Zero 9/2/17 20:36

All people must have awareness to protect the environment.

Only Solidar 9/2/17 21:40

There is a relatively simple solution. Consumers could pay a deposit when they buy electronics — a phone, for example — and get the deposit back when they turn the phone in to a formal recycling center.

Deck Hero14 9/2/17 21:52

We have to punish strictly who cause harm to the environment. Save a clean environment for our next generations!

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