Waste Management Project Statement


Waste management is a major problem in Vietnam and the Mekong Delta Region. Wastes such as plastics, chemicals and human waste are commonly disposed of into the surrounding environment and rivers. Other methods of waste disposal include burying or burning materials. Some privately owned businesses buy good quality recycled wastes of families for a small price, but it is not a simple process to sort through the rubbish to determine quality materials. Thus the problem still exists and has become an environmental and even health hazard.


Design Projects

EWB and Habitat for Humanity invite you to consider one or more of the following design projects:

  • Develop a composting system for household waste.
  • Design a user-friendly, low-cost household waste management system to separate organic (composting) and non-organic (recycling) waste. This will also typically provide education as to what can and cannot be recycled, so as families can be confident in selling wastes to private companies.
  • As education regarding waste in the Mekong Delta is poor, develop a training system to increase awareness of waste reduction, composting and recycling for a household.
  • Habitat is exploring alternative construction materials for building houses. Using waste materials (e.g. thongs, rice husk, plastic bags, and tires) develop construction materials for housing and sanitation systems.


Design Considerations

When designing a solution, the following issues have been identified and should be considered a priority. The proposal should consider:

  • The benefits of converting a waste stream into a valuable product which becomes an income stream.
  • Preventing the dumping of waste in rivers and streams.
  • Reducing the transportable waste.



Additional Information

Types of waste and waste disposal

The main source of waste from households is plastic, with plastic bags being the biggest problem. There are small amounts of kitchen scraps and organic waste. Currently kitchen waste is given to houshold ducks, cats, dogs and chickens. Most families have one dog and ducks or chickens. Kitchen waste is also given to pigs however there isn't much land for pigs in An Minh. 

Most waste is thrown into the waterways or onto the side of the road for disposal. Organic waste may also be burnt  as a method of getting rid of it. 

Another source of waste is human waste and waste water. Human waste is most offten disposed of directly into the canals via a drop toilet. The drop toilet consists of two planks of wood over the canal. Waste water from the bathrooms is also directed into the canals without any treatment. See the water supply and sanitation home page for more information. 


Recycling is not a common practice. There are however private companies operating in the An Minh district that go from house to house in boats along the canals buying recyclable materials. Households get paid for plastic, paper, bags and cans. The families do not get paid much for recyclables but it does promote recycling and offers an alternative for throwing waste into the canals. Unfortunately recycling is still not that commonly practiced. 

The collectors will sort the recyclable materials and then sell them onto larger recycling centres for a profit. The nearest recycling centre is located in Ca Mau and Ho Chi Minh City.