Impacts of Plastics in Vietnam

Plastic bottles in ocean

Sources, Sinks and Solutions for Impacts of Plastics on Coastal Communities in Vietnam

This multimillion-pound research project, led by our scientists, is seeking solutions to the impact of plastic pollution on Vietnam's economy and the health of its population. It involves a multidisciplinary team from eight research institutions collaborating with seven partners in Vietnam covering all regions of the country's coastline.

Plastics are an environmental issue around the world, but they are particularly problematic in south-east Asia, and in Vietnam especially, which has 3260 kilometres of coastline – stretching across 28 coastal provinces. This extensive coastline supports many rural livelihoods as well as business and industry operations worth more than US$17 billion per year to the Vietnamese economy.

The project focuses on plastic waste comprised of large (>50 mm), macro- (5 - 50 mm) and micro-plastics (<5 mm) and will quantify the extent of the problem, calculating how much plastic is in coastal water.  It will seek to understand the pathways and destinations of these plastics, studying the physical processes that transport them into coastal areas using 3-dimensional particle tracking models. In particular will investigate the pathways by which macro- and micro-plastics interact with the organisms and environments relevant to businesses such as fisheries and aquaculture. 

A broadscale sampling strategy will provide critical insights into the characteristics and quantities of these plastics, and the contaminants that they transport into the coastal system. Using a range of experiments, the team will build understanding of how plastics and their associated contaminants impact upon coastal business activities, such as aquaculture, fisheries, tourism, and on coastal communities, and their potential threat to health and safety of both human and marine life.

Increasing understanding of plastic pollution will help the team to develop realistic, feasible solutions to reduce it and evaluate which mitigation measures are most effective, and where they should be implemented for best effect. The project will also interrogate existing national and international legislation and policies that address the issue of plastics in supply chains, to investigate where shortcomings in the integration of policies leads to shortfalls in their successful implementation. A wide programme of engagement will involve managers and Government officials in relevant ministries and citizens at local, regional and national levels.

Contact our Global Research, Innovation and Discovery team about research collaboration and business partnership opportunities at