Many campaigns have been launched in Vietnam to raise awareness about environmental protection
Vietnam's efforts to protect the environment have been encouraging, donors told the International Support Group for Natural Resources and Environment conference held in Hanoi recently.
Tran Hong Ha, director of the Department of Environment Protection under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, attributed the good performance to the effective implementation of the national plan on the environment and sustainable development in the 1991-2000 period.
He said that during the past years, Vietnam has created legal foundations for environmental protection activities, with a number of legal documents, such as the Law on Environmental Protection, Land Law, Water Resources Law, and Minerals Law, coming into effect.
A series of measures have been taken to prevent environmental pollution, including producing environmental impact reports, installing pollution-reducing equipment and waste treatment lines, and limiting the importation of used vehicles and machines.
Additionally, concerned agencies have taken prompt measures to quickly tackle many environmental problems, including oil spills in the Sai Gon River. They have also examined and punished production entities causing pollution and mapped out detailed plans to treat particular organic substances.
In 2003, the Prime Minister approved a plan to examine and tackle heavily polluting production establishments by 2010. The approval of the plan was combined with the promulgation of an institutional tool to punish establishments which violate environmental safety rules and a decree to collect fees for discharged waste water.
Practical projects to improve the environment in polluted areas have been underway in various localities and places across the country. They include a project to revamp the Thuong Dinh industrial complex in Hanoi's western Thanh Xuan district, a project to combat land degradation in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, and a project to treat air pollution and waste water in northern Quang Ninh province.
Additionally, projects to monitor the basin of major rivers and a master plan to develop Vietnam's coastal areas have been carried out in an attempt to ensure sustainable development of the ecosystem.
Relevant agencies have paid due attention to environmental protection while planning urban areas and developing industrial zones.
Thanks to the Government's policy of encouraging the planting of forests, the forest coverage nationwide has increased to 36 percent from 30 percent in the late 1980s and is likely to reach 40 percent by 2010.
However, how to protect the environment in the long term remains a headache for Vietnam, given the degradation of farming land and irreversible desertification that is occurring rapidly, as well as land erosion, landslides and salinisation that can be seen in many places. Air pollution is also becoming an urgent problem that needs to be promptly addressed, especially in urban areas and industrial zones.
For now, the environment sector will continue completing a legal system for land, natural resources, minerals and the environment, and will bring into force regulations of the Land Law, Water Resources Law, Minerals Law, and Environmental Protection Law, with the aim of reducing the rate of pollution and environmental degradation.
VOV - (17/02/2005)