Nguyễn Toàn Thắng. — Photo thanhnien.vn
Nguyễn Toàn Thắng, director-general of the HCM City Department of Natural Resources and Environment, speaks to the newspaper Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) on the plan to turn HCM City into a green, clean and beautiful city
Can you tell us some of the notable achievements of HCM City in its efforts to become a green, clean and beautiful city?
What we have achieved so far should be attributed to the positive response of people living in the city to protect the city’s environment in the context of climate change. From their small actions like not throwing waste in the streets or canals, they have made big contributions to make the city green and clean. Adding to that, city authorities have adopted strong actions against people who throw waste in the streets.
The number of industrial enterprises that properly discharge their wastewater has increased from 85 to 97 per cent with up to 99 per cent of the wastewater properly treated before being discharged into the city’s canals. Up to 98 per cent of industrial enterprises have properly installed equipment to filter the water/air discharge to the outside fences of enterprises. The usage of renewable energy has reached 1.8 per cent against the target of 0.06 per cent.
In addition, city authorities have used advanced technology in urban management activities, particularly in environmental protection in accordance with Government Decree 38/2015 and Decree 40/2019/NĐ-CP as well as Circular 24/2017 of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
What are the advantages and disadvantages the city has faced in trying to become a green, clean and beautiful city?
The greatest advantage is that we have enjoyed support from municipal authorities and district/precinct administrations.
Another factor is that the authorities have paid special concern to the task of keeping the city green, clean and beautiful. To encourage all citizens to participate in the efforts, authorities have presented awards to enterprises and citizens that have contributed to the campaign to make the city green, clean and beautiful.
Authorities have also allocated funding to projects to encourage people to do waste classification at sources and to build wastewater treatment plants and others. Authorities have also provided funding for a project to forecast the city’s quality environment as well as measures to control the city’s environmental quality.
Authorities have also stepped up the mass communication campaign, particularly gearing towards the city’s migrants on how to use products which are friendly to the environment, instead of plastic bags.
Have authorities adopted any plan to reduce the environmental impacts on the city?
In the year 2020 and beyond, city authorities will continue to supervise the issuance of documentation on legal matters relating to the environmental issue before projects start operation. In the pipeline, HCM City authorities will hold annual communication campaigns to raise awareness on the importance of environmental protection in the context of the climate change.
City authorities have also adopted a financial plan to upgrade the technology for waste treatment plants. What’s more, the city will invest in the procurement of new public buses which will run by electricity, LPG, CNG or LNG to cut down the release of toxic gas to the environment. — VNS