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Vietnam struggling to overcome littering behaviour

Vietnam struggling to overcome littering behaviour

Why do the Vietnamese litter so much? We try to get to the bottom of it

According to website, Vietnam is in the top four of generators of plastic waste, churning out 280,000 tons per year.

On average, each Vietnamese person (approx. 100 million population) consumes 41.3 kgs of plastic each year, equivalent to 7,600 plastic grocery bags.

And it all has to end up somewhere, which, sadly, is often on the streets and in the waterways across the country.

Why is it so?

Vietnam is blessed with stunning natural landscapes from north to south, yet the Vietnamese are seemingly content to trash it.

A decades-old study led by Robert Cialdini of Arizona State University confirmed that humans imitate the actions of those around us. He found, as it relates to littering, that everything comes down to norms and we get these cues from our environment.

That means, if you come across an environment that’s highly littered, you’ll have a greater propensity to litter yourself.

Likewise, if you come across a piece of litter in what’s otherwise a litter-free environment, then you’re significantly less likely to litter.

But does this also hold true in Vietnam? Or, are there other factors at play?

See Also

To find out, we chatted to Dr Justin Pang, a lecturer and researcher at RMIT Vietnam in Hanoi, who has a wealth of experience and knowledge in hotel and tourism management, and who is a regular volunteer on clean up days in Hanoi, including helping feed and support the homeless and less fortunate in our society.

Our interview with Dr Pang begins at 41’35 in our podcast episode below.

Dr Justin Pang

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