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PM Calls for Collective Effort to Support Global Battle Against Plastic Waste 

Source: Vientiane Times

Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone has called on Lao people nationwide to join the rest of the world in putting an end to plastic waste, which has contributed immensely to global pollution and climate change.

The premier delivered the message to mark the 50th World Environment Day, which falls on June 5, and the 24th National Environment Day.

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’ and is a call for global solutions to combat plastic pollution.

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The world is being inundated by plastic. More than 400 million tonnes of plastic is produced every year, half of which is designed to be used only once. Of that, less than 10 percent is recycled. An estimated 19-23 million tonnes end up in lakes, rivers, and seas.

Today, plastic clogs landfill leaches into the ocean and is combusted into toxic smoke, making it one of the gravest threats to the planet.

The United Nations Environment Programme warns “Not only that, what is less known is that microplastics find their way into the food we eat, the water we drink, and even the air we breathe. Many plastic products contain hazardous additives, which may pose a threat to our health.”

In Laos, imported plastic goods worth more than US$200 million were brought into the country in 2022, representing a significant proportion of all imported goods, Prime Minister Sonexay said.

In Vientiane alone, as much as 500-600 tonnes of waste is produced every day. But only 300-350 tonnes of this is properly managed at landfill sites, while the rest is not properly disposed of. In rural communities, waste is discarded on empty land or burned, posing a threat to the environment and human health.

In the global effort to address plastic waste, 175 nations endorsed a historic UN resolution to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by the end of 2024, Prime Minister Sonexay said.

In Laos, the government has incorporated international agreements into laws and regulations in order to better manage waste. Of particular importance is the national action plan on plastic waste management set for 2022-2030.

The prime minister added that the government’s policy on environmental protection has been translated into the 9th National Socio-economic Development Plan for 2021-2025, emphasizing green, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly development.   

On the occasion of World Environment Day, the premier called for people from all walks of life to join forces to reduce environmental impacts.

“Let us all adopt environmentally-friendly lifestyles, producing and using environmentally-friendly commodities and consumer goods,” PM Sonexay said.