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Pollution targeted

by P.V25 August 2016 Last updated at 06:11 AM

VTV.vn - The government held a national online conference on Wednesday to identify tasks and possible solutions to protect the environment in the coming time.

This is the first governmental conference to be held with the attendance of 63 provincial secretaries and chairmen of people’s committees following the environmental disaster caused by Formosa’s dumping of toxic waste.

At the event, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc reiterated that recent environmental protection violations had damaged the country’s economic development, saying that Vietnam would not accept profits at the cost of environmental pollution.

According to the Ministry of Natural Resources  and Environment, 283 industrial parks in Vietnam currently release half a million cubic metres of waste- water each day. There are 615 new industrial clusters but only 5% of them have waste processing systems. Nearly 3 million cubic metres of waste water in 787 urban cities remain unprocessed. Each year the whole country uses more than 100,000 tonnes of pesticides and two-thirds of rubbish dumps do not meet sanitation requirements.

"We’ve always focused on economic growth, paying little attention to raising awareness over environmental protection. The whole system competes for growth without thinking about the environment. Future profits won’t be enough to restore the environment", said Vice Director Phung Duc Tien - NA Committee for Science, Technology and Environment.

"At the opening of the conference, the prime minster stated that we won’t sacrifice the environment to achieve economic development. This is absolutely right. International experience also shows the cost of resolving environmental issues will outweigh economic profits and some can’t even be dealt with", said Cao Duc Phat - Deputy head of NA Economic Committee.

According to the Ministry of Public Security, there are currently 300 legal documents on the environment, but their implementation remains ineffective. Most pollution is the result of a gigantic lack of investment in waste processing plants and systems. The recent pollution in the central region would have not happened if Formosa had abided by the environmental protection regulations.

"There are currently 90 waste processing companies certified by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. However their activities aren’t based on regulations, they usually just go bury the waste", said Senior Lieutenant General Le Quy Vuong - Deputy Minister of Public Security.

"Our cities currently only process about 12% of waste; it is 30% in Indonesia, 40% in Malaysia and 100% in the Singapore. We bury 89% of solid waste and only burn 10%. However, our incineration methods are out-dated and even cause pollution", said Le Quang Hung - Deputy Minister of Construction.

At the conference, leaders of provinces and cities expressed determination to apply measures to protect the environment. HCM City set the goal to process 55% of waste water in the next 5 years, a great improvement from the current 13%. Quảng Ninh Province plans to consult Japanese experts on environmental projects. And Hai Phong City announced the lists of industries restricted from investment due to the risk of pollution, with the city already having closed 2 factories last week due to pollution.

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