top of page



🌳In recent years, mangroves are gradually disappearing at a rapid rate. The main cause comes from human’s bad habits and waste pollution, especially plastic waste. The increasing trend and habit of using plastic has led to a huge explosion of plastic waste, which has become a disaster for the environment, and mangroves are one of those victims.

🌳In this lesson, we explore the current state of plastic waste pollution, its impacts on the environment, especially the mangrove ecosystem, as well as the survival of animals and humans.




1. Plastic waste – Microplastic particles

In the current situation, Vietnam is among the 5 countries with the largest amount of plastic waste in the world.


1.1 What is plastic waste?

🌳Plastic waste is used plastic products which are discharged into the environment such as: plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic straws, synthetic plastics …


🌳According to a United Nations report, each year the world has about 300 million tons of plastic waste, of which 8 million tons of plastic wastes ends up in the sea.


🌳Vietnam alone accounts for about 1.8 million tons of plastic wastes, of which about 730,000 tons are discharged into the sea.


1.2 Microplastic particles

🌳Recently, a new threat has been discovered, even more dangerous than plastic waste, which is microplastics.


🌳Microplastics, pieces of plastic with very small sizes from 5mm to 10 nanometers, are being widely used in household items and industrial abrasives such as toothpaste and cosmetics, as well as in fabrics that manufacturers are using to produce our daily clothes.

2. How did plastic waste and microplastics kill mangroves?

2.1 Where does plastic waste and microplastics in mangroves come from?


2.1.1 Urban and agricultural activities and flows

🌳Most rivers carry plastic waste from deep inland to the sea, and into mangrove areas.


2.1.2 Wastewater treatment plants

🌳Plastic waste and microplastics in domestic wastewater are the main contributors to plastic pollution for mangroves.


🌳Although more than 90% of microplastics in wastewater are removed in conventional treatment plants, there is still a significant amount of microplastics released into the environment due to the amount of wastewater discharged to many places and many times.


🌳In addition, in some developing countries, wastewater treatment equipment is inadequate, domestic wastewater can be directly discharged into rivers into mangrove areas.


2.1.3 Beach littering from tourism and fishing

🌳Plastic products left behind by tourists such as plastic bags, plastic bottles and countless other types of plastic waste are potential sources of pollution in mangrove ecosystems.


🌳Lost and forgotten fishing gear such as fishing lines, plastic containers, or equipment used in aquaculture are also included in this “black list”.


2.1.4 Maritime activities (aquaculture and shipping)

🌳Marine aquaculture is also considered a source for microplastics to appear in mangrove sediments, which is because the equipment used in the aquaculture process contains many plastic components.


🌳The shipping industry, with its oil spills, also plays a significant role in the battle to destroy mangroves.


2.2 Current status of plastic pollution in mangroves

🌳Mangrove sediments have been identified as a hotspot for plastic pollution, with plastic concentrations nearly 8.5 times higher than in bare land adjacent to the coast.


🌳Along the coast of Saudi Arabia, it is estimated that since the 1930s, between 50 and 110 tons of plastics have been trapped in mangrove sediments through the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf.


2.3 Impact of plastic wastes and microplastics on mangrove ecosystems and humans

🌳The most dangerous harm of plastic waste is that it takes a very long timer to be decomposed. Even when buried in the soil, plastic persists for hundreds or even thousands of years.


🌳Plastic waste leaves mangroves with nowhere to take root, smothering the mangroves brutally. Eventually, the mangroves suffocated and died.


🌳Moreover, plastic wastes and microplastics are an alarming threat to the biodiversity of mangrove ecosystems. Many animals, marine life and birds, mistake plastic waste and microplastics as food. Once ingested, plastic significantly affects the respiratory and digestive processes of organisms, and more seriously leads to the death of animals, birds or fish.


🌳The immediate impact of plastic pollution is the destruction of important ecological environments that exist in mangrove forests. Increasingly, this loss destroys essential habitats and food chains for many of the species that make mangroves home. If we do nothing today to stop this plastic pollution, in the very near future, some unique mangrove creatures will surely face extinction.


🌳Not stopping there, through the food chain, when people eat seafood, toxic compounds from plastic can cause chronic effects on human health, including disrupting the system. Hormones (endocrine disorders), causes genetic changes (mutagens) and cancer.


🌳According to a study by The Guardian newspaper (UK), it is estimated that the average adult eats about 50,000 microplastic particles each year, while children are 40,000.


3. The fight against plastic waste of countries around the world

🌳To address the global threats from plastic waste and microplastics, many countries around the world have made efforts to put in place appropriate policies to limit environmental pollution and protect mangrove ecosystems.

  • UK: The number of single-use plastic bags is reduced by 95% thanks to the fee policy

  • The Philippines produces masks made from banana fibers to help reduce plastic waste

  • Singapore “says no to plastic waste”

  • From the beginning of 2020, Thailand issued a ban on single-use plastic bags

  • Japan: Applying modern waste treatment and recycling technology

  • Denmark produces electricity from waste


🌳However, the fight against plastic pollution cannot be left to the government alone. Each of us has a role to play in limiting plastic waste, by changing our habits and consciousness in buying and disposing of plastic containers, guys!





bottom of page