Vietnam has experienced rapid urbanization, especially in the last decade, with urban populations expected to surpass those in rural areas by 2050. Despite relatively high waste collection rates in urban centers, over one quarter of urban residents live in low-income and densely populated areas where collection can be challenging to deliver consistently. Vietnam’s urban growth, combined with increased demand for and dependency on single-use plastics, has outpaced its waste system capacities, leading to environmental leakage. USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program is piloting solutions to address these challenges, which also impact human health and our climate.

In 2019, Vietnam issued its National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris Management until 2030, which aims to reduce plastic litter in oceans by 50% by 2025 and by 75% by 2030. Clean Cities, Blue Ocean is supporting these goals through targeted national-level support and activities in four engagement sites.

Engagement Sites

  • Phú Quõc is Vietnam’s largest island, with a population of just over 100,000 thousand and a burgeoning tourism sector. On the island, USAID is working with partners to develop and pilot a community-based waste management model, focusing on households and hotels, and integrate waste management into the island’s annual socioeconomic development plans.
  • Hue City has deep historical significance and a large tourism economy. The program is working with local partners to develop the city’s circular economy by launching a “ReForm” plastic facility—a new market-based recycling scheme and social enterprise model focused on low-cost solutions for processing plastic and packaging waste into new materials. Behavior change for increased sorting and waste collection is promoted amongst households and businesses to support the success and sustainability of the system, and local government and municipal waste operators are engaged to ensure a strong enabling environment.
  • Da Nang is aggressively working to become greener and more sustainable by reducing the over 1,000 tons of waste it generates each day. The program is supporting the effort by developing public-private partnerships and engaging with informal waste collectors to build their capacity, support their formalization as a professional group, and align their services with increasing waste demands.
  • Bien Hoa, located near the Mekong River Delta, is a rapidly growing industrial and commercial area. Here, Clean Cities, Blue Ocean is working to establish and build the capacity of informal waste collector cooperatives to formalize their role in waste management, increase their collection volumes and earnings, and improve worker safety and protections.