Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI – In four years, from 2011 to 2015, more than 50 per cent cent of all monitored days in Việt Nam posted low air quality. The World Health Organisation (WHO) repeatedly issued warnings that Việt Nam is among the most air polluted country in the Asia-Pacific region, while the capital city of Hà Nội is among the more polluted cities in the world.
This alarming information was presented yesterday by Đỗ Mạnh Hùng, Vice Chairman of the National Assembly Office, during a seminar on the country’s air pollution sponsored in conjunction with the German- Hanns Seidel Foundation. Studies and data presented at the workshop are expected to provide information to lawmakers in crafting legislation and ensuring environmental and climate concerns are fully considered in the process of socio-economic development.
The quality of air is also deteriorating especially in villages that recycle waste, metal, paper, plastic and battery. Tests conducted in recent years showed that dust concentrations in these villages might be three to eight times higher than allowed.
According to national statistics, although the total forest coverage has increased and reached 40 per cent, forest quality is on a decline. In urban areas, the coverage of green trees fails to meet set standards. Specifically, in Hà Nội and HCM City, the green space per person stayed below 4sq.m, much lower than the required standards of 10-15sq.m.
According to Nguyễn Hoàng Đức of the Department of Pollution Control of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, environmental regulations are not fully observed, and waste handling has become outdated, making the discharge of pollutants into the air a ubiquitous phenomenon.
Đức also admitted that environment monitoring activities were carried out in a perfunctory manner. Under existing law, environmental inspections must be conducted with prior notice, leaving ample time for offenders to alter their usual operations and “inspection results fail to reflect actual conditions”, Đức added.
Delegates at the workshop also presented research on air pollution in Germany and international practices in air quality management. They also urged the development of a separate bill on air pollution control with detailed regulations and accountability of each individual or organisation, and especially State management. The role of the National Assembly in monitoring air pollution was also discussed.
According to the Pollution Control Department, in the long run, integrated tools to manage air quality must be developed, including promoting the deployment of economic tools in air quality management, such as the exchange of emission quotas in industry and services, and environmental protection charges for emissions, among others. – VNS