Nguyễn Thanh Tùng. — Photo thanhnien.vn
Nguyễn Thanh Tùng, director of the Việt Nam Administration of Seas and Island’s Department of Policy and Legal Matters, speaks to the Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper on the imperative need to protect the sea environment
What are the major points in the Spatial Planning of Vietnamese sea and islands?
This master planning will map out orientations for sea-based socio-economic activities in line with the integrated management of sea and island resources and environment.
Different from the other plans, the master plan will focus on marine environment and resources, the value of marine eco-system and how to exploit and use of sea resources.
This special planning will define which areas are prohibited from maritime exploitation or restricted. The master plan will work out orientations for sea-based socio-economic activities in line with the integrated management of sea and island resources and environment.
The Vietnamese Law on Sea and Island Natural Resources and Environment which came into effect on July 1, 2016 has restricted waste dumping activities in marine regions which are under Việt Nam’s jurisdiction.
What types of waste are allowed to dump to the sea?
Areas having special marine biodiversity will be strictly protected. Any other waste dumping activity must have a special permit from a competent authority.
Though the Law on Planning doesn’t have any special article on waste dumping activities in the high sea, more recently the Việt Nam Administration of Sea and Island has come up with a proposal to conduct a study on which areas could be used as dumping sites. The Việt Nam Administration of Sea and Island will develop technical guidelines for survey and assessment missions to select ocean areas for dumping each type of solid waste.
Many international scientists have voiced concerns that waste dumping in the sea should be the last resort if no other measures are feasible. How do you respond?
I just want to reiterate that this is only one of several conditions to consider before granting permission for waste dumping into the sea. This idea is written in the point c, clause 1, article 58 of the Law on Sea and Island Natural Resources and Environment.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has always recommended all localities and investors make the best use of the garbage or dredging mud for land fill or in activities for land encroachment into the sea. In other words, dumping the waste into the sea should be the last resort.
Việt Nam has many times reiterated it would not exchange the environment for economic development. That’s why before making any decision to dump the garbage into the sea, concerned authorities have to conduct thorough studies on the pros and cons of their decision. — VNS