pollution in VN reaches alarming proportions
Committee for Science, Technology and Environment deputy chairman Nghiem Vu Khai
spoke with Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep (Business Forum) about environmental
do you evaluate the implementation of environmental protection policies among
is among the three key factors of sustainable development in any country.
However, the level of environmental pollution in our country is alarming.
The inspection of
enterprises’ operations in economic zones and urban areas in 2008, which was
conducted by the Committee for Science, Technology and Environment, showed that
only 20 per cent of 200 industrial zones were equipped with waste treatment
systems. The number of enterprises who actually use their treatment system is
much lower than that.
what do you think is the main cause of the current situation?
initially, belongs to State management agencies. The regulations on implementing
the environment protection law remain inadequate and out-of-date in many cities
and provinces, according to our survey. For example, there are 20 regulations on
the jurisdiction and responsibility of provincial-level authorities, but the
current law’s guidelines lack information and do not meet requirements in
In addition, the
poorly-equipped systems for checking and analysing waste samples in localities
prevent relevant authorities from finding and punishing violators.
In my opinion, the State
does not allocate enough money from its budget for environmental protection.
Thus, it’s necessary to enhance the socialisation process of waste treatment
and environmental protection in the future.
is your opinion on the recent public outcry that the punishment for
environmental polluters is not strict enough?
I would say that there has
been a deep change in the investigation and punishment of environmental
violations, but the process is still not as effective as it should be since we
are still meeting difficulties.
Thus, the amendment to the
Criminal Law, which will be approved soon, will increase some punishments for
environmental criminals. Obviously, criminal processing is one of many other
measures. The more important is to raise awareness, especially among
organisations and enterprises, about environmental protection. If violations
keep occurring, the solution to the long-term consequences will be costly and
in waste treatment facilities is expensive and pushes enterprises to raise the
price on their products. This is regarded as the main cause of the increase in
violations among enterprises. In your opinion, what supportive policies are
needed to deal with the problem?
All enterprises should
calculate the expense of environmental protection when chalking out their
However, in some cases,
where enterprises conduct projects that create jobs for labourers or purchase
farmers’ products, the State is likely to support the company with land, tax
exemptions. The enterprises, in this case, still have to take legal
responsibility for environmental protection.
It’s unacceptable to
justify a violation by pointing to economic growth targets. The implementation
of environmental polices will become a key factor in the sustainable development
of enterprises and contribute to their image and trademark in the market and
is your opinion about the amendment of the Environmental Protection Law, which
gives enterprises more legal rights?
The arguments proposed at
the NA meeting to change some regulations of the Environmental Protection Law,
in my opinion, are not convincing enough. The current regulations, which require
enterprises to implement environmental impact assessments and studies on project
feasibility, are totally appropriate for the State policies and the
Environmental Protection Law. Only when these two things are approved should
enterprises be able to obtain a business licence.
I think we should explain
this to enterprises, make them understand and encourage them to implement
environmental protection policies and share the responsibility with the State
and society. — VNS