Lê Thanh Thuỷ, head of the Bureau for Project Management and Communication under the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment talks to the newspaper Tài Nguyên và Môi trường (Natural Resources and Environment) on Hà Nội’s determination to end the use of charcoal stoves
Do you think that by the year 2021 Hà Nội will be able to eliminate the use of charcoal stoves?
According to the latest report from all 30 districts, precincts and towns in Hà Nội, by late December 2020, almost 500,000 charcoal stoves in both the inner city and districts had been eliminated – a decrease of some 91.61 per cent.
According to our plan, by late 2021, charcoal stoves will be totally eliminated in the city. The Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment has worked closely with all People’s Committees in the city and concerned agencies to make sure the plan will be successfully implemented.
To achieve this goal, we have launched a communication campaign to ask people to switch to other cooking means. We are confident that our goal will be achieved in accordance with the plan.
What about poor households which are not able to use other cooking means instead of charcoal stoves?
In 2018, the Hà Nội Department of Environmental Protection worked with the Netherland Development Agency to look for new stoves meeting Vietnamese national standards to replace the old stoves – the new stove is coded CCBM and it has met the three criteria laid down by the Viêtnamse authorities – i.e friendly to the environment with fewer fumes released during the cooking, energy-saving and safety.
What’s more important is that the cooking materials are all by-products of farming like rice husk, sawdust and others.
However, the use of sawdust has caused environmental problems, so the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment has worked closely with other agencies to look for new cooking materials which are more friendly to the environment instead of sawdust.
By now five districts and precincts in Hà Nội have given up using the coal-fired stoves. Hopefully in the years to come Hà Nội will achieve the target set by the city authorities to eliminate the use of coal-fired stoves.
Do Hà Nội authorities have any plan to eliminate the use of coal-fired stoves in the near future?
Under Decree No.155/2016.NĐ-CP which was issued on November 18, 2016, anyone who has violated the Law on Environment by discharge contaminated air to the environment – including the fumes discharged from coal stove - will be fined.
However, that is only what has been written in the law and the coal stoves used by many households in both rural and poor urban areas are still rampant. This is a big challenge for the Hà Nội authorities. Yet, in the near future, the Hà Nội authorities will come up with a stronger legal document to penalise the activities of any organisation or people who produce the coal fire stoves to sell in the market for profits. VNS