This project aims to empower university students in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - one of the top 5 plastic polluters of oceans and rivers - to become environmental leaders in their local communities. It comprises 8 workshops and the iCHANGE Seed Planter Camp & Competition to find and nurture innovative students' projects. The camp will provide practical skills to run a successful campaign. At the end, 10 teams will implement local campaigns against single-use plastic with CHANGE's support.
Vietnam releases about 6% of the world's total plastic waste (UNEP). HCMC's daily solid waste exceeds 9000 tons (HCMC DONRE), 10% of which are various plastics. A recent survey revealed that the dominant contributors of plastic over consumption are young Vietnamese aged 18 to 35, with an average of over 200 plastic disposables used per month. At present, a large number of young people have basic knowledge of single-use plastics, but most actions were trendy and had short-term impacts.
We plan to target university students to turn the action of saying no to single-use plastics into their habits and lifestyle by increasing their awareness via 8 workshops. At the same time, we also provide training and mentoring to build campaigning skill sets for potential environmental leaders. Thus, they will have the ability to implement their own projects, magnifying impact and promoting alternative lifestyle among different communities.
By increasing awareness of the youth and empowering potential leaders, we are integrating sustainable development into the mindset of the next generation. Moreover, the fact that citizens are sustainability-conscious ensures businesses and the government will take practical steps towards sustainable practices, reducing and banning single-use plastic. This strategy has been proven effective with plastic straws where behavioral changes in millennials led F&B chains to switch to sustainable straws.