Edited by Michikazu Kojima and Etsuyo Michida
Chapter 4: Import of recyclables and environmental pollution in Vietnam: a new dilemma of development
Rapid economic growth and industrialization started in the early 1990s in Vietnam, which coincided with the beginning of the expansion in the trade of recyclables (scrap and recyclable wastes) in global markets. Vietnam, therefore, has been able to utilize imported recyclables as resources for production from the early stage of its economic development. Vietnam’s subsequent trade liberalization and efforts at integrating into the global economy have widened the country’s access to the global recyclables markets. Imports of recyclables are indispensable for Vietnam’s industrial development as it helps to compensate for the scarcity of domestic natural resources and the high costs of imported natural resources. Without a doubt, Vietnam’s industrial development has benefitted from the increasing import of recyclables. However, increased imports of recyclables can damage the environment, as recyclables are discarded or used materials and goods. Such waste, which needs to be segregated and separated to become resources, is likely exported to Vietnam with the expectation that these processes will be done more cheaply than is possible in the exporting countries.
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