Here’s how Ho Chi Minh City is building a digital waste system

Ho Chi Minh City waste
Ho Chi Minh City skyline and the Saigon River. Image by efired | Bigstockphoto

Waste has become a major problem in Ho Chi Minh City. The rapidly growing population and economy have resulted in increased waste generation, posing significant challenges to the city’s infrastructure.

The city generates 9,500 tons of waste every day, or 3 million tonnes per year. This is more than Hanoi’s generation of 6,500 tons of waste daily.

To effectively manage this, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment is exploring the use of emerging technologies. The Department’s Information Technology Centre Director, Bui Hong Son, recently said that the application of information technology is an inevitable trend and increasingly popular for environmental protection.

In partnership with a private player, the Department has piloted a software application to help manage waste in the city. The app, available on iOS and Android devices, allows users to register for waste collection (including bulk collection), pay fees, monitor garbage truck routes, and even give feedback on waste services.

Bui Hong said that the ecosystem would help the government coordinate the process more efficiently, reduce the amount of waste being transported to the wrong location or poorly handled, and enable landfills and incinerators to precisely report the concentration of gases released into the air.

For example, as part of this ecosystem, the government is building a digital map that will track the routes of garbage trucks, collection points, and treatment stations. This will help to ensure that waste is collected and disposed of correctly and in a timely manner.

In addition, the Department is also piloting a new system that digitizes the waste management process and allows users to make online payments for collection services. The system, which is currently being trialled in the Go Vap district, will eventually be rolled out city-wide.

The system will feature an online waste market and connect scrap dealers and waste owners and allow them to sell their products and services online. To do this, sellers upload pictures of their products and services, and buyers can browse and make purchase offers. The app also welcomes old items for donations.

Open digital ecosystems like this one are playing an increasingly important role in delivering services to communities around the world. In Vietnam, this is particularly relevant in the context of environmental protection. As the country continues to develop rapidly, it is crucial that emerging technologies are leveraged to address pressing challenges such as urban waste management.

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