PM approves building marine environmental monitoring system for four central provinces

09:38 | 08/09/2017 Environmental Resources

The Prime Minister has approved investment for a project to build a marine environmental monitoring and warning system in four central provinces, to be managed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) and the People's Committees of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

Experts from the Institute of Environmental Technology take samples in “red colour” water in Nhan Trach commune, Bo Trach district, Quang Binh province, May 2016

The project has the target of developing a modern and synchronized monitoring and warning of marine system for environmental pollution in the four central provinces, in order to provide information, data and documents on the current status and quality of the central marine environment (surrounding air, seawater and sediment), while providing timely warnings whenever the quality of the central marine environment shows any signs of pollution.

The VND320 billion (US$14 million) project will be implemented from 2017 to 2019 with five components, of which Component 1 aims to enhance the capacity of the marine environment monitoring and warning system in Ha Tinh province, with a focus on investing in equipment for on-field observation and lab analysis, as well as for environmental monitoring by Ha Tinh’s Centre for Environmental Monitoring.

The component also sets out the construction of an environmental warning observation station in Vung Ang Economic Zone and adjacent areas (adjacent to the steel complex run by Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Company). An environmental monitoring station to automatically observe the sea water environment and another monitoring station for the surrounding air environment will also be set up.

Components 2, 3 and 4 target the strengthening of the capacity of the marine environment monitoring and warning system in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue, in which investment will be increased in equipment for field observation and analysis in laboratories and for environmental monitoring centers in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

Component 5 ensures coastal environment monitoring and warning in the four central provinces through a system of automated monitoring stations, using remote sensing technology and a combination of periodic monitoring programs. A system of marine environment monitoring stations will be built in the above provinces, including automatic and continuous sea level and air monitoring stations.

In addition, it also outlines the building of a marine surveillance system for four provinces through a remote sensing technology monitoring system at the MONRE, while strengthening equipment capacity to analyse basic and specific criteria of components in the air and water environment, investing in the installation of equipment for measuring control and environmental monitoring devices at Center for Environmental Monitoring under the Vietnam Environment Administration, and designing and implementing a marine environment surveillance programme in the four provinces within two years.

In the immediate future, the PM has assigned the MONRE to assume the prime responsibility and coordinate with the localities participating in the project in completing and approving a pre-feasibility study report.

The region was hit by a major environmental disaster last year, with mass fish deaths reported on April 6, 2016 when many fish washed ashore in Ha Tinh province. The incident also occurred in Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue provinces.

Wastewater discharged from the Taiwanese company Formosa polluted more than 200 km of coastline, devastating the marine environment and local economies of the provinces, which largely rely on fishing and tourism.

In June last year, Formosa accepted responsibility for the incident and pledged US$500 million in compensation for the affected fishermen, households and organizations.

Theo NDO