Vientiane taking steps to reduce plastic waste

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Plastic bags are one of the biggest environmental problems on the planet and people in many countries are taking steps to reduce the use of plastic bags. 

But, in Laos, plastic bags are still widespread and clearly seen in local markets, street food stalls, shops and restaurants, and especially during festivals. Every day, Vientiane residents use tonnes of plastic bags, far more than is necessary. Raised awareness is the key to reducing the use of plastic bags.

Therefore, the public is being invited to the Earth Talks event being held at EARTH - Vientiane tonight from 7pm at no charge. Attendees will receive reusable cloth bags. 

The talks will feature various speakers on topics that aim to raise awareness and find solutions to reduce the use of plastic.

A speaker at the event, Ms Apple Chansy, who is the Eco-Fest Project Leader, Global Shapers Vientiane Hub - Reducing plastic use in daily life and Lao festivals, said “We seek to use cultural events as platforms to create a clean environment and generate awareness about reducing, reusing and recycling by educating and empowering individuals to continue to donate and celebrate while preserving and protecting the environment.”

Eco-Fest is a project implemented by Global Shapers Vientiane and sponsored by the UK Embassy to Laos.

Ms Chansamai Phommachan, Representative Vientiane Zero Plastic Week and NZ Scholarship Awardee will speak on “Bringing awareness to local schools”.

“We have learned that one family uses about 15-20 plastic bags and other forms of plastic containers each day on average. There are more than 165,000 households in Vientiane. If we can encourage 10 percent of them to reuse their plastic bags and reduce household waste from plastic it will mean that we can eliminate more than 280,000 plastic bags each day.”

Mr David Jessop, Co-Owner EARTH - Vientiane - Eliminating single use plastic in local business and beyond, will discuss the concrete and pioneering initiatives EARTH is taking to reduce plastic waste, including using bamboo straws, repurposed newspaper bags, and other more environmentally friendly materials.

Other speakers are Mr Serge Doussant, Director and Mr Phongphoumma Tk, Manager of Green Vientiane on “New strategies against the plastic flood: beyond the clean-up”.

Since 2010, Green Vientiane has been promoting a clean and green city. Its activities include film production, songs, media campaigns, school education, event clean-ups, and working on waste management with local authorities.

A Q&A session and discussion will follow the speakers.

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