Over a period of ten years, more than 300 businesses responsible for polluting the environment have been taken to task, but just as fast upto 1,000 new ones have sprung up.
|Wastewater being discharged from a textile and dyeing unit in HCMC (Photo: SGGP)|
Bui Cach Tuyen, deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said there is an urgent and immediate need to tackle six major environmental problems.
Development of Industrial and Export Processing Zones has not synchronized with environment friendly infrastructure. Several of these Industrial Zones do not even have the basic wastewater treatment facilities and are now contributing heavily to increased pollution levels on land and rivers.
Mineral exploitation has added to the worsening state of pollution in several provinces and cities. Solid, medical, household and industrial wastewater is not being collected and recycled in a proper manner.
Exhaust fumes from traffic, construction works and production units are not being monitored, and polluted air is engulfing large cities and river valleys. Waste discharged from agricultural production and daily activities of residents in rural areas is neither being collected nor treated in any form.
Several reasons are however held accountable. Firstly, the fallout of the present economic crisis led to inappropriate investments in nonfunctional environment protection works.
Secondly, awareness towards environment protection of relevant authorities, businesses and the community at large is severely lacking. Priority is normally given to economic benefits than to protecting the environment.
Several regulations in the Environment Law issued in 2005 are contradictory to actual implementation of tasks. All such factors have slowed efforts to achieve targets in environmental protection and to stop degradation.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is now in the process of making modifications to the Environment Law. Opinions from all groups of people, such as managers, scientists, businesses and residents are being considered before submission to the National Assembly by next year.