Environmental protection: Pillar of sustainable development

06:00 | 06/03/2021 Environment

(VEN) - Despite the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Vietnam adhered to its  environmental protection goals and launched initiatives to address ocean plastic waste pollution and respond to climate change and transboundary environmental pollution.

pillar of sustainable development

Changes in awareness

The key achievement of environmental protection in the past year was passage of the revised draft Law on Environmental Protection, reflecting a comprehensive policy of making environmental protection a backbone of the sustainable development process.

In 2020, with the involvement of news outlets, campaigns were implemented to raise awareness and improve environmental protection through waste treatment and other measures to ensure environmental safety and thereby contribute to growth.

In addition, information about environmental air quality has been made available on a wide scale through the VN Air application on mobile devices and publication of the air quality index (VNAQI) on a national scale. Management agencies are using the Envisoft application to monitor and manage environmental data across the country.

The rate of solid waste collected and treated in inner-city areas has reached about 92 percent, and 66 percent in suburban areas. Many localities have applied waste incineration to generate electricity instead of burying waste in landfills, with 12 such projects in operation with a capacity of nearly 15,000 tonnes a day.

The environment sector has protected and developed 172 terrestrial conservation areas and 16 marine conservation zones, preserving genetic resources and endemic flora and fauna.

In 2020, local environmental management agencies also coordinated closely with the environmental police forces, the Fatherland Front and the Farmers’ Union to detect and strictly handle 12,000 environmental violation cases (down 4.26 percent from 2019). Information campaigns have created a dramatic change in community awareness of responsibility for environmental protection, receiving enthusiastic public response for the prevention of plastic waste.

According to the 2019 Vietnam Provincial Governance and Public Administration Performance Index (PAPI), the state of the environment has remained a significant public concern, the third most serious in 2019 after poverty and economic growth.

Waste treatment goals

Vietnam has set a target of dealing with all establishments causing serious environmental pollution, collecting and treating 90 percent of domestic solid waste generated in urban areas and raising the proportion of domestic solid waste treated by recycling and incineration to 30 percent of the collected waste volume. The targets also include collecting and treating all hazardous solid waste from production, service activities, medical establishments and craft villages and reusing or recycling all ordinary industrial solid waste generated by such facilities.

Vietnam also aims to complete the disposal, renovation and restoration of areas contaminated by accumulated plant protection chemicals and warehouses nationwide.

To achieve that goal, Vietnam will concentrate on management of environmental conditions in industrial parks, industrial clusters, and craft villages; impose sanctions so that polluting establishments undertake technology conversions; and at the same time offer more land, tax, interest rate incentives for circular economic development and green economy; establish a market for by-products and waste products so that waste becomes a secondary resource in the closed loop system of a new production cycle; and develop a number of urban centers, industrial parks and export processing zones in a recirculating and low-emission model.

Vietnam will also build more environmental monitoring systems, formulate programs and plans to reduce pollution, control and relocate pollution sources, and raise standards of emissions from vehicles. Ensuring that environmental requirements are combined in strategies and planning of urban areas is also a major goal.

Thu Huong