Hoping for a sea change in how plastic is used and treated in Vietnam, Ha Long Bay’s leading cruise provider has launched a program aimed at combating one of the world’s greatest environmental concerns.

Earlier this month, Paradise Cruises removed plastic straws from all seven of its luxury cruise ships. It was the first step in a long-term plan that also calls for the elimination of all disposable plastics on Paradise’s cruises by the end of the year.

“Plastic pollution only seems to be getting worse, both globally and right here in Ha Long Bay,” said Mr. Edgar Cayanan, General Manager of Paradise Cruises. “Without action, nothing changes. And things have absolutely got to change.”

Plastic waste is an especially significant problem in Vietnam, which according to Earth Day Network generated more than 1.8 million tons of it last year; the fourth-most of any country.

“As plastic takes about 200 years to decompose, it poses a great threat to our oceans,” Mr. Cayanan went on. “A whopping amount is thrown into the water every single day. Not only does it make for an eye sore, it destroys marine life.”

Removing plastic straws is an eco-friendly initiative Paradise believes will have a considerable impact. With 130 cabins in its inventory, the outfit estimates it will save up to 36,000 straws per year.

Passengers are encouraged to help in the effort by bringing a reusable straw with them or by not using a straw at all.

“This is just a first step, of course, but it’s a step we need to take before we can start talking about real change,” Mr. Cayanan said.

Paradise Cruises is part of Paradise Vietnam, an upscale travel company that also owns and operates seven highly-regarded restaurants around the country.

Established in 2008, the Hanoi-based group has made its mark in the hospitality industry by continually expanding its offerings. It has a pair of high-end hotels in Ha Long Bay and puts social responsibility on a pedestal.