Ministry quashes plans to build road through biosphere reserve

July, 12/2022 - 10:01
The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has assessed that the construction of a road through the Đồng Nai biosphere reserve, to connect Bình Phước and Đồng Nai provinces, should not go ahead as it would have a great impact on the ecosystem of the reserve.
A view of the core zone in the Đồng Nai biosphere reserve. — VNA/VNS Photo Sỹ Tuyên

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport (MoT) has assessed that the construction of a road through the Đồng Nai biosphere reserve, to connect Bình Phước and Đồng Nai provinces, should not go ahead as it would have a great impact on the ecosystem of the reserve.

The assessment featured in a report signed by Deputy Minister of Transport Lê Anh Tuấn last week that was sent to Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính.

Authorities in Đồng Nai Province consulted with UNESCO over the construction of a bridge and road in the biosphere reserve.

The planned Mã Đà Bridge and National Highway 13C would have run through approximately 40km of the reserve, which is considered the ‘green lungs’ of the southeast.

Officials were concerned over the possible effects it would have on the ecosystem and habitat of wildlife.

The National Committee for the Programme on Man and the Biosphere of Việt Nam (MABVN) recommended the bridge not be built, saying it would have a serious impact on the core area and the conservation of three national historical relic sites.

Over the years, the province has protected forest areas, planted new trees and rare animals have re-appeared.

If the bridge is given the green light, UNESCO could use their powers to revoke the title of ‘World Biosphere Reserve’.

After the province received feedback from UNESCO, it reported to the Government and the Prime Minister for further consideration.

Implementing the Prime Minister’s request, after working with concerned ministries, localities and organisations, the MoT concluded that it was necessary to study the building of a road directly connecting the two provinces.

But the Đồng Nai biosphere reserve has been recognised by UNESCO as a world biosphere reserve in 2011. It has many ecosystems, including many species of plants and animals on the list of endangered and rare precious species.

Since 1997, Đồng Nai Province has had a policy that prevents vehicles from passing through the core zone and preserves the existing natural forest areas.

The MoT, therefore, has concluded that the option to build a road going through the core area of the biosphere reserve was impossible.

It proposed the second option, which connects Bình Phước Province with Ring Road 4 and does not run through the Mã Đà Bridge.

The road will start in Đồng Xoài City, running towards Đồng Phú-Bình Dương and Bắc Tân Uyên-Phú Giáo-Bàu Bàng, then to the Ring Road 4 and HCM City.

It will be about 71km in length with a total investment of about VNĐ530 billion (US$22.6 million).

The MoT assessed that this route was the shortest with the least investment. Travel time is shortened due to taking advantage of the Ring Road 4-HCM City. It reduces overloading on the existing routes connecting Bình Phước Province and the Central Highlands provinces.

The MoT has proposed provinces research building a road that does not run through the Mã Đà Bridge. — VNS

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