Public thirsts for info about environmental problems
HA NOI — People in Viet Nam are not getting the information they need to combat the country's serious environmental problems.
People remove dead fish from the Tra Khuc River in the central province of Quang Ngai. The public is not getting regular and up-to-date information about the environment, a survey found. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
This is according to a survey reported by the Viet Nam Environment Administration at a recent conference on protection of the in-danger Dong Nai river.
The survey of 1.2 million people showed that only 26 per cent of respondents had access to the Party's environmental regulations and 36 per cent had access to other related information.
The majority of people questioned said they needed regular, up-to-date information about the environment. People in southern Dong Nai province headed up the list with up to 93 per cent saying that environmental information was very necessary and 90 per cent saying they needed to receive information in this field.
"There are many reasons why people know little or nothing about environmental issues," said Head of the Administration's Environmental Communications Office Nguyen Van Phan.
"The respondents said the responsibility for disseminating this information belongs to local authorities, Government environmental management agencies, social-political organisations, the media and businesses," Phan added.
Up to 98 per cent of people surveyed said State environment management agencies were to blame for the information shortage while 95 per cent said local authorities were responsible, he said.
The survey was conducted in six provinces along the severely polluted Dong Nai, Cau and Nhue-Day rivers in late 2008.
Deputy Director of the Central Commission for Information Dissemination and the Education Department of Technological Science and Environment Nguyen Van Ba wanted to know how authorities could call upon people to manage the environment if they lacked the necessary information.
In response, Phan said that the administration had launched various programmes aimed at raising public awareness about environmental issues. Authorities and businesses were particular targets. There was increased training for local environmental workers and more information was being disseminated. There were also environmental campaigns and contests to draw more public attention to environmental issues.
Pollution levels are at alert level for Dong Nai river, which runs through 12 provinces in the south-east region.
The Environmental Technology Centre of the Viet Nam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment reports that nearly 2 million cubic metres of industrial waste water is discharged into Dong Nai River daily, with another 2.7 million cubic metres directly discharged from urban areas. — VNS