|Police crackdown on an illegal gold mining spot in central Phu Yen Province. Addressing environmental pollution from mineral extraction activities is a key focus of Viet Nam's environmental protection resolution. — VNA/VNS Photo The Lap
HA NOI (VNS)— Industrial pollution and destruction of the environment continues to threaten the country's socio-economic development, experts have warned the government.
Pollution is forecast to increase by a multiple of three within the next ten years, and more alarmingly up to four or five times by 2025, according to findings released at a recent workshop set up to adopt a new government resolution on environmental protection.
Environmental experts at the workshop stressed that without appropriate measures to deal with the issue of waste management, this is the likely forecast for the nation.
They estimated that a total loss equivalent to 3 per cent of the country's GDP will result from ongoing and unchecked environmental pollution.
Apart from economic losses, environmental pollution also had a direct negative impact on people's health, they said.
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen said the country believed in protecting and improving the environment, that some gains had been made, but the task ahead was still a daunting one.
"Many industrial zones failed to invest in building waste treatment systems, causing serious environmental pollution.
"Mineral exploitation was still booming in some localities without strict oversight or management from local authorities, making these mineral rich areas ‘hot spots' of environmental pollution," he said.
"The standard treatment of medical, household and industrial waste is still low and environmental pollution at craft villages and rural areas continues to increase," he added.
A representative from the environment and natural resources department in northern Nam Dinh Province said environmental protection was still a major headache, stating that many businesses operating in the province failed to implement their environmental protection commitment, while punishment mechanisms were not strict enough.
"In particular, there is a need for separate waste treatment facilities of different kinds to treat medical, household and industrial waste in urban areas separately, without this separation there is improper waste treatment," he said.
"The province is also facing environmental pollution from construction activities, agro-chemicals and the waste coming from metal recycling at craft villages," he added.
Environmental pollution has affected tens of hectares of land in the province which now could not be cultivated, while pollution related diseases such as cancer have also been recorded, he said.
To deal with these urgent environmental issues, the Government adopted Resolution 35/NQ-CP in March this year.
The environmental protection resolution focuses on seven measures to enhance waste management at industrial parks and other manufacturing hubs. It aims to improve the quality of strategies and assessments applied to plans and future development projects.
The resolution also specifically attaches importance to environmental protection where mineral extraction activities are undertaken, improving the conditions in rural areas and craft villages and gradually addressing environmental pollution in big cities and river basins.
The State's effectiveness and efficiency in its management of environmental protection were also targeted for improvement, along with the need for stricter control on scrap imports, and generally more effective protection of the nation's eco-system.
The resolution demands that responsible agencies increase the stringency of inspection and enforcement of environmental protection law at industrial parks and manufacturing clusters.
The agencies are now expected to suspend or ban the operation of enterprises that have made serious violations to environmental protection law, and make public their violations.
The Government is also requested to limit the use of agricultural chemicals and to more effectively control the collection and treatment of residual livestock feed, fertilisers and pesticides by introducing specific measures. The pollution caused by the solid waste discharged from rural areas which have a high concentration of livestock breeding activities is also to be tackled.
The responsible agencies must also look into managing pollution from transport vehicles and encourage mass transit and the use of environmentally-friendly vehicles. — VNS