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Viet Nam struggles to deal with unhealthy environment

Update: June, 19/2015 - 09:23
Residents travel in fumes on the Ha Noi Highway in HCM City. Viet Nam is suffering from a shortage of clean water, polluted air and untreated garbage and waste. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Phan

HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam suffered from a shortage of clean water, polluted air and untreated garbage and waste.

Associate professor Nguyen Huy Nga from the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health said this at a conference on environmental health management in Ha Noi yesterday.

During the conference, experts discussed difficulties facing environmental health in the country.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health showed that only 85 per cent of rural households had access to clean water. And only 65 per cent of rural households had hygienic latrines.

Medical waste was also not managed well, said Nga.

Air and water pollution in traditional trade villages had reached alarming levels, he added.

Viet Nam had set up units specialised in environmental health in different ministries, but did not have professionals to manage them.

"Viet Nam should have a national action plan on environmental health," he said.

The plan should target research on environmental health and improve people's awareness on the issue.

Le Thi Thanh Huong, an expert from the Viet Nam Public Health Association, said Viet Nam lacked experts specialising in environmental health.

It also did not properly compile national data on environmental health.

Huong suggested the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment should closely co-operate to avoid overlapping management.

More training should be given to workers and researchers in the field.

Comprehensive research on environmental health was needed to define the most dangerous factors threatening people's health, said Huong. — VNS

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