Plastic wastes a challenge to increasingly prosperous Laos

1 May, 2015

Like many other cities of the world, the Laotian capital, with its improving economy and standard of living, is not spared from the scourge of urban living: the proliferation of plastics and products bottled or wrapped in plastics.

The biggest problem is that wrappers or bottles made of plastic materials are carelessly thrown just about anywhere. Most of them end up clogging canals and waterways or polluting the waters of the mighty Mekong River.

Hundreds of tons of garbage, that include plastic materials, are being scavenged in the whole city every day. And these include refuse from the riverside Chao Anouvong Park which is frequented by local and foreign tourists.

While Vientiane remains as one of the most relaxed capitals in the world, there is now a growing concern over the impact of plastic wastes on the environment and on the country’s 7 million people.
This concern is not limited to Laos but throughout the world. A report released earlier this year estimated that more than 9 million metric tons of plastics and related refuse of all conceivable shapes and sizes had been found already in oceans worldwide. It’s an alarming figure and one that continues to rise at a rapid rate, spurring global efforts to address the problem. The report identified emerging economies of Asia as key sources of plastic wastes that enter the world’s rivers and seas, both concentrated and dispersed by ocean currents.

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