The Work of WWF on Phu Quoc Island
It is a top ranking that gives little pleasure – Vietnam ranks among the top countries from which the most plastic waste enters the oceans. The main reason: the Mekong River - one of the 20 most significant sources of pollution into the oceans.
Due to the lack of infrastructure for the removal or recycling of plastic in Vietnam, the materials often find their way into rivers and end up in the seas. The cooperation between PreZero and WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature), established in 2015 and now extended until 2025, addresses exactly that issue:
In the highly sensitive marine protection areas and national parks of Phu Quoc Island, measures to avoid waste in the tourism sector and the middle-term expansion of a waste management system are being advanced. In the Province of Long An, in the northern part of the Mekong Delta, PreZero is using its technical expertise for installing systems to further process waste and recyclables.
© Picture: Nguyen Minh Duc
A primary requirement for the partners in all project details is the integration and participation of the locals. One example of this is the model implementation of a separate waste collection system in the city of Tan An, which started in August of 2020.
© Picture: Jürgen Freund/WWF
© Picture below: Melanie Gömmel/WWF
Joint Recovery of Ghost Nets in the Baltic Sea
However, ocean plastic isn't just a serious problem in Southeast Asia: According to WWF Poland estimates, 5,500 to 10,000 parts of lost fishing nets end up in the Baltic Sea each year, endangering sea life and the environment.
As a result, the cooperation with PreZero and WWF focuses on recovering and recycling ghost nets in the Baltic Sea. By working together with fishermen and using sonar technology, professional diving teams recover sunken fishing nets, which are tested in a variety of ways for their exploitation. Because of the severe contamination the recycling of the ghost nets is not possible.
© Picture: Christian Howe
Since January 2020, WWF Germany's ghost diver app has supported the search for nets lost on the bottom of the sea. The app makes it possible for sports divers to take part in the search for ghost nets without running the risks of non-professional recovery. The app can also be tied to sonar data up to the 2021 diving season. WWF can then store sonar positions in the app which can be confirmed by sports divers as suspected net locations. This then results first, in an increasingly detailed picture of pollution on the seabed, and also makes it possible for targeted recoveries to take place on a regular basis. As a long-term solution WWF is working with state ministries in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony to make the cleanup of the German coastal waters a state duty.
© Picture: Christian Howe
Project Facts and Figures
WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature)
Start of cooperation
2015 (partnership extended to 2025)
Main focus of cooperation
International partnership for marine conservation - removal of existing and prevention of future ocean plastic (OP) and ocean bound plastic (OBP)
Baltic Sea ghost net recovery
- Extension of WWF cooperation until 2025
- Almost 20 tons of ghost nets recovered from the German Baltic Sea (as of December 2020), including 9.5 tons recovered just in a three-day recovery trip in September 2020
Provincial capital on Mekong Delta (Tan An)
- Development of waste management concept
- Start of the separate collection in August 2020
Phu Quoc Island
- Assessment of waste situation and of current waste management system
- Development of action plan