Interview with Dr. Xuan Quach by Sonia G. Astudillo

The Zero Waste movement around the globe is rapidly growing. Just on the first month of 2020, stories of towns, cities, and countries wanting to ban single-use plastics have dominated the news. Paranaque, Quezon, and Puerto Princesa cities in the Philippines, Jakarta in Indonesia, Kerala in India, and Bangladesh, and China. Let’s not forget about the plastic bag alternatives the people of Thailand brought to grocery stores on the 1st day of the ban.  As we say, it’s raining SUPs bans and we couldn’t be happier.

Before the year 2019 ended, GAIA Asia Pacific sat down with Dr. Xuan Quach to talk about the zero waste movement in Vietnam, the challenges that come with it, and what’s in store for the future.

Dr. Xuan works at the Division for Urban and Environment Study in Danang Institute for Socio-Economic Development. She does research on policies related to urban development and environmental studies and represents the Institute in city meetings designed to tackle the waste management system. Effective February 1, she will lead the Pacific Environment’s plastic waste campaign in Vietnam. She is also the National Coordinator of Vietnam Zero Waste Alliance and is an elected member of the GAIA AP Regional Advisory Council representing Southeast Asia .

“It all started in 2017 when GAIA and Pacific Environment met with activists from around the country ,” Dr. Xuan recalls. “We later organized the first Zero Waste workshop in Vietnam, inviting private organizations, government officials, and individuals. During the workshop, the participants became more familiar with each other and their corresponding organizations, as well as zero waste practices in the Philippines and other countries. Our goal at that time was to set up Vietnam’s first Zero Waste alliance. A lot has happened since then…