Vietnam is facing an issue of rapidly increasing solid waste, especially municipal waste in urban areas as the result of economic development and fast urbanization. The total Vietnamese solid waste generation has been doubled within the period of 2003 – 2010.
As an effort to reduce the pollution problems, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh are planning to import advanced incineration technology with heat recovery for power generation, which will be public tendering for domestic/international companies including Norwegian. Opportunities are also seen in producing fertilizer from organic waste; methods to reduce landfilled volumes and landfill areas as well as special technology to treat hazardous wastes from steel plants and bauxite factories.
Landfills, burning and incinerators
The MSW management system comprises only four activities including waste generation, collection, transportation and disposal. There are two main waste treatment methods being applied in Vietnam, which are landfill and burning/incinerators. Open burning at landfills are commonly practices in few cities.
After collection, waste is dumped in the landfills, sprayed EM to deodorize and sprayed lime periodically to disinfect and then burnt by oil when it is dry. However, during rainy season, wet waste cannot be completely burnt. It is estimated that 40 – 50 % of waste taken to insanitary landfills is burnt in open air. This burning of emitted toxic pollutants cause serious environmental damage, and may endanger human health.
Due to high investment cost, incinerators are not commonly used by the municipalities in Vietnam; it is only applied in a few hospitals at the city level and several cities. The other reasons might be the organic materials and high moisture that make MSW not easy for combustion processes.
The total estimated municipal solid waste (MSW) of 2015 is at 21 million tons or 28.4 tons/day, and it is characterized by high organic contents, no source separation and high humidity. The contents are a mix of paper, plastic, glass, metals, etc., combined with toxic substances (paints, pesticides, used batteries) and compostable organic matter (fruit and vegetable peels, food waste).
The largest fraction is organic, accounting for 56 – 77 %, followed by recyclables such as plastic (10 – 14 %) and paper (2 – 7 %). The rates of waste collection in urban area are about 80 – 97 %.
If you would like to know more about the opportunities in the Vietnamese waste-market, please contact:
Hai Anh Tran
senior market advisor, Innovation Norway Hanoi.