Plastic-free paradise for Halong Bay

Halong Bay Vietnam

Did you know that Vietnam produced more than 1.8 million tonnes of plastic waste last year? Source: Shutterstock.

COMPANIES and brands worldwide have pledged to minimize the use of plastics, especially single-use plastics, to help combat the rise of plastic pollution.

Words like “No plastic bags” and “Plastic-free” are such big buzzwords these days but for all the right reasons.

It was reported that the amount of plastic produced in just a year is roughly the same weight as the entire humanity.

According to Ocean Conservancy, Indonesia, China, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam are five countries that are dumping more plastic into the oceans than the rest of the world combined.

Due to poor waste processing infrastructure, in the five Asian countries listed above, only about 40 percent of garbage is properly collected.

Earth Day Network data showed that Vietnam produced more than 1.8 million tonnes of plastic waste last year.

To help defeat the environmental threat, one Vietnamese cruise provider has launched a programme to fight plastic pollution in Halong Bay.

Located in northeast Vietnam, Halong Bay is known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped by rainforests.

A favorite travel destination for both locals and foreigners alike, visitors often take junk boat tours, cruises, and kayak expeditions to explore the many islands.

Other popular activities include scuba diving, rock climbing, caving, and hiking, particularly in mountainous Cat Ba National Park.

In 2000, Halong Bay was designated a Unesco World Natural Heritage Site.

In its first step in a long-term plan, Paradise Cruises removed plastic straws from all seven of its luxury cruise ships.

According to Paradise Cruises, removing plastic straws from its cruise ships (that’s about 130 cabins) will save up to 36,000 straws per year.

Passengers of its cruises are encouraged to bring a reusable straw with them or forego using straws altogether while onboard.

Travel Daily Media quoted Paradise Cruises general manager Edgar Cayanan as saying, “Plastic pollution only seems to be getting worse, both globally and right here in Halong Bay. Without action, nothing changes. And things have absolutely got to change.”

The cruise company’s ultimate goal is to eliminate all disposable plastics onboard by the end of the year.

“As plastic takes about 200 years to decompose, it poses a great threat to our oceans. A whopping amount is thrown into the water every single day. Not only does it make for an eyesore, it destroys marine life,” Cayanan added.

“This is just a first step, of course, but it’s a step we need to take before we can start talking about real change.”