|Workers produce electronic components at Mtex Viet Nam Co Ltd. Viet Nam is taking the first steps to build a treatment system for electronic waste. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vu
HA NOI (VNS) — Vietnamese environmental policy-makers and managers exchanged experiences with international counterparts at a conference held yesterday in Ha Noi, taking the first steps towards building a treatment system for electronic waste.
At the conference, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen said that the nation's information and communication technology sector had grown drastically in recent years, increasing by more than 80 per cent in 2013 alone.
Electronics and hardware accounted for over 94 per cent of the sector's revenue, which reached a record-high of US$23 billion this year, according to the 2013 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) White Book issued by the Ministry of Information and Communications.
However, a study conducted by the Ha Noi University of Science and Technology found that the increased demand for hardware resulted in more electronics waste.
The improper collection and treatment of this waste threatened the environment and public health, Tuyen said.
Under Decision 50, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in August, used equipment will be collected and treated by companies that manufacture it or import it into Viet Nam beginning in 2015.
Huynh Trung Hai, head of the university's Institute for Environment Science and Technology, said that in Viet Nam, such waste was mainly collected by scrap dealers and then "dismantled by private centres in trade villages including Van Mon and Trang Minh" rather than being treated.
"The centres use backward technology and rudimentary equipment, so they only treat ordinary materials," he added.
There is no data on how much electronic waste is discharged yearly, according to Hai.
"We believe that shared experience from some of the world's prominent ICT experts will contribute to developing a practical framework for electronics waste management in Viet Nam," said Kok-Wah Boey, Hewlett-Packard's Head of APJ Environment Management.
The conference was co-organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Group in Asia-Pacific. — VNS