Viet Nam News
Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Võ Tuấn Nhân speaks to Quân đội nhân dân (People’s Army) newspaper about the relationship between enterprises and the environment.
What are the impacts of business activities on the environment?
This is a reciprocal relationship. Enterprises’ activities have positive or negative impacts on the environment and vice versa, the environment also affects enterprises’ production. All production and trading activities affect the environment. It’s impossible to ask for no impact on the environment from business production. The issue here is the scale of impact on the environment.
Businesses can have positive impacts on the environment, including construction of amusement parks, green parks, artificial lakes and cultural and tourism villages, which can create a new environment, contributing to improving the environment. Business operations contribute to the State budget, an important financial source for environmental protection. Some businesses, such as the import and manufacturing of equipment for environmental protection, help solve environmental problems. For example, the development of biotechnology will help reduce pressure on the exploitation and use of products of natural origin. In addition, the development of waste recycling industry will improve environmental quality and tackle pollution caused by waste.
However, business activities have also negatively impacted the environment.
First, as businesses develop they have greater need for natural resources. The overexploitation of natural resources adversely affects the environment. Also, with old technology, the inefficient use of natural resources is inevitable.
Second, industrial waste can cause degradation and pollution to the environment, affecting human health.
Third, importing goods which are not environmentally friendly also causes pollution.
What policies in Việt Nam aim at reducing pollution from businesses? For enterprises still using outdated technology, what measures have been implemented to force them to change?
The Government has signed international commitments on climate change, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and has been building a programme to cope with climate change and implement green growth. This programme aims to limit businesses impact on the environment. The programme has received support from the international community. We will take advantage of co-operation with the international community to apply more advanced technologies which do not pollute.
For businesses using outdated technology, we have determined policies and regulations so that they have to reduce the use of and eventually eliminate such technology. We have listed facilities causing serious environmental pollution to be replaced or removed. At the same time, there are policies to encourage environmentally friendly technology. According to the Government, by the end of 2020, we will basically eliminate all polluting facilities.
How ready are businesses in Việt Nam for the transition to green technologies? Do you think the plan to eliminate all environmental polluters by 2020 is realistic?
It is true that there was time enterprises pursued profits but overlooked the environment. These enterprises will soon have to change their technology, production processes and waste systems to protect the environment. For new enterprises, we have to strengthen environmental impact assessments. In environmental impact assessments, there are criteria assessing the impact of production on the environment. If the business does not meet the criteria, they will be shut down. New enterprises have to be more responsible for protecting the environment.
The Government is determined to force enterprises causing serious environmental pollution to change outdated technology by 2020. To achieve that goal, localities must regularly review and deal with polluting establishments. — VNS