Slums along a canal in HCM City. The Government is developing guidelines enabling People’s Committees of districts and provinces to sue polluters. — Photo vietnamnet.vn
HÀ NỘI — The Government is developing guidelines enabling People’s Committees of districts and provinces to sue polluters, Phạm Văn Lợi, head of the Environmental Study Institute under the Việt Nam Environment Administration, said at a conference on sustainable development yesterday.
A Government decree on assessment of environmental damage that took effect in March 2015 provides for suing polluting enterprises if they fail to agree on compensation with local authorities, including People’s Committees and the ministry of environment.
But Lợi said compliance of Vietnamese firms with obligations relating to environmental protection, such as issuing environmental impact assessments, environmental protection plans, waste management and pollution reduction measures was still modest.
“Stricter punishment of polluters will deter them,” Lợi said.
Deputy head of the Việt Nam Environmental Admistration (VEA), Hoàng Văn Thức, said there are 283 industrial zones in Việt Nam but just 75 per cent have waste water treatment systems and just 60 per cent of the systems meet national standards. Only five per cent of trade villages and industrial groups across the country have waste water treatment systems.
VEA data shows that half the enterprises inspected failed to complete legal documents relating to environmental protection. Thirty per cent of enterprises discharged improperly treated waste water into the environment.
Deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Võ Tuấn Nhân, said that besides their obligations, enterprises were offered incentives in taxes, land use and infrastructure for complying with environmental protection laws.
However, enterprises complain that they face difficulties in accessing such incentives, Nhân said, adding that he himself saw enterprises struggle to access the Environmental Protection Fund when he was in charge of the fund management. — VNS