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From August, Ha Long Will Ban Plastic Bottles, Bags on Tour Boats

In response to the beautiful bay's burgeoning rubbish problem, plastic will no longer be used on sightseeing vessels.

Beginning August 1, 15 service providers in Ha Long Bay, in coordination with the city's management board, will embark on a pilot program banning all plastic bottles and bags, according to Dan Tri. Boats will rely on glass for storing water and employ re-usable cloth napkins and other eco-friendly alternatives.

Currently, as many as 5,000 wet napkins and 5,000 plastic bottles are used and discarded daily in the UNESCO heritage site. Many of the items make their way into the waters, contributing to the six to seven tons of trash collected in the water every day. 

Pham Dinh Huynh, deputy head of the management board, explained that this program is just the beginning in addressing the area's grave environmental situation. More tour providers and other industrial sectors will need to make changes as well. "It must be done step by step. The number of day boats and the use of plastic products are much higher so it will be difficult to ban," he said.

Along with the pilot program ban, service providers will need to be more diligent in categorizing the waste they bring to treatment facilities and be enticed into installing treatment systems on their boats. Moreover, efforts are also being made to educate fishing families and supply them with more environmentally friend daily-use items. Various grassroots efforts have emerged to aid in cleanup efforts. 

[Photo via Flickr user Cocoabiscuit]

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