USAID Announces New Vietnam Partnership to Address Ocean Plastic Pollution
On January 12, 2022 the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean (CCBO) program and the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) announced a partnership to stem the tide of ocean plastic pollution through improved local solid waste management. Through the partnership, USAID’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program will support national strategies to reduce ocean plastics, as well as pilot solutions directly in four “engagement” sites in Vietnam: Hue, Da Nang, Bien Hoa, and Phu Quoc. The program will deliver technical assistance from international and local experts and award approximately US $600,000 (13.6 billion VND) to local organizations to deliver locally-led sustainable solutions.
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. Like other regions in the world, 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. Clean Cities, Blue Ocean, a global USAID program, will partner with local and international organizations in Vietnam to test new models to increase recycling rates, reduce landfill waste and leakage into nearby waters, and improve livelihoods of those working in the waste and recycling sectors to build more sustainable circular economies.
At the event, the Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program shared international best practices from its global network of partners and announced upcoming Vietnam grantee activities. The first wave of grantees in Vietnam include: Environment and Development in Action (Enda Vietnam) for its project in Bien Hoa; the Asian Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) for its project in Da Nang; International Development Enterprises (iDE) for its project in Hue; and The Center for Environment and Community Assets Development (CECAD) for its project in Phu Quoc.
The upcoming grants will each implement their own, locally-tailored activities to strengthen solid waste management, ranging from engagement with informal waste collectors to build their capacity for more efficient collection, improve safety conditions, and advance their livelihoods thereby improving city service; to creating innovative public-private partnership schemes that strengthen markets for recyclable plastics and local circular economies. These grants will be complemented by program-provided technical assistance to strengthen local solid waste management plans, build local government capacity, and create the enabling environments required for more robust and sustainable local waste systems.