Raising awareness of the impact on health and environment from plastic waste

Funded by: 

Seed Awards

Conducted by:

Prof Jeremy Day, Head of Central Nervous System and HIV Infections Research Group (until 2022)

Trần Thị Hiếu Thảo, PCE coordinator (until 2019)

and the OUCRU HCMC, Vietnam Green Team


There is a growing body of evidence that plastic pollution is creating irremediable damage to our ocean ecosystems. This damage is also extending onto land and impacting human health as tiny micro-particles of plastic end up in sea salt and 80% of sea fish (Clukey et al 2018; Karami et al 2017).

Vietnam is one of the key sources of plastics that end up in the ocean (Lahens et al 2018; Schmidt et al 2017). The objectives of this project were to empower a group of OUCRU researchers from different departments by involving them in a project for change to raise awareness about the impact of waste at OUCRU, and to work with a local artist to design effective media that encourages people to reduce their use of single-use plastics.

In the future, we continue to send reminders to OUCRU staff and start work with the Hospital for Tropical Diseases and patients to improve recycling and reduce the use of plastics on the hospital grounds.

Key Milestones / Activities

Forming OUCRU Green Team

A group of OUCRU researchers and artist Nguyen Minh Nam, came together to form the ‘OUCRU Green Team’. The team has mapped OUCRU’s monthly waste burden, electricity, and water usage.

Green Team activities

  • Created posters showing how much waste OUCRU creates and an action plan.
  • Encouraged OUCRU to buy reusable plastic cups and plates for events; and
  • Successfully petitioned the OUCRU Management to use catering firms that have a no-plastic policy.

Green Week Campaign

In May 2019, we held a ‘Green Week Campaign’ with daily fun activities in OUCRU public areas, displays and posters, and motivational talks.

  • Over 100 people attended events, many signing ‘green pledges’ to try to reduce waste.
  • Recycling bins have been set up in the public areas.
  • Stalls selling environmentally friendly products were set up during the week.
  • The entertainment committee agreed to provide reusable water bottles rather than disposable water at the 2-day annual OUCRU team building.

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