HCM CITY (VNS)— Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a project to prevent and control the import of alien species of flora and fauna into the country.
Experts say the approval is an overdue recognition that loose border controls have seen several invasive species brought into the country with detrimental effects to the local environment.
Under the project, which will be carried out until 2020, State management agencies will compile a list of banned invasive species and create profiles to keep track of those that have already been imported into Viet Nam.
In the 2013-2020 period, Viet Nam will control and root out extremely invasive alien species like mimosa pigra, mimosa diplotricha and yellow snails.
The country will also develop early warning systems in the north, central and southern regions, so that rapid action can be taken to prevent, control and eradicate new invasive alien species.
The project will organise training courses for the staff of environmental protection and plant protection agencies, as also for managerial staff of nature sanctuaries.
The staff at 47 quarantine stations and customs officials at 18 international border gates with China, Laos and Cambodia will be trained so that they are well versed in quarantine regulations and have the ability to identify invasive alien species.
The Convention on Biological Diversity describes invasive alien species as "plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health.
"In particular, they impact negatively on native biodiversity through competition, predation or transmission of pathogens," it says.
It notes that invasive alien species, introduced and/or spread outside their natural habitats have affected native biodiversity in almost every ecosystem type on earth and "are one of the greatest threats to biodiversity." — VNS