There's almost more plastic than sand on this long, tree-lined beach: Plastic helmets, furniture and the plastic leg of a shop mannequin all stand out of an ocean of blue plastic bags.
Just south of the capital Hanoi, the once peaceful and clean beach of Hau Loc in Vietnam's Thanh Hoa province, has been slowly suffocating under the weight of plastic waste for decades, highlighting an environmental crisis ahead of World Environment Day on Tuesday (June 5).
Vietnam is the fourth-largest contributor to marine plastic pollution globally, a 2015 study by the University of Georgia showed. Globally, eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean every year, killing marine life and entering the human food chain, the U.N. Environment Programme said in December.