13:00 | 15/10/2020 Environment
(VEN) - Home to one of the world’s most enticing heritage sites, Ha Long Bay, the northeastern Vietnamese province of Quang Ninh is also the source of 90 percent of the country’s coal. Seeking to balance its booming industry with its surging tourism, the province is set to exceed the targets set out by its green growth model.
Less coal, more tourism
With its abundant mineral sources, the mountainous coastal province strategically located on the border with China has over 130 mineral exploitation projects (59 coal mining projects, 72 construction material projects and the Khe Soong Hydropower Plant with capacity of 3.6MW).
A decade ago, Quang Ninh industries accounted for 53.4 percent of the local economic structure, with revenues from the coal industry accounting for more than 60 percent of the provincial domestic revenue. However, the rapid industrial development created great pressure on the ecological environment, and clashed with local commercial services and tourism development, especially for Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bays.
In recent years, the economic structure of Quang Ninh mining has shifted positively towards sustainability, with the coal industry's contribution to growth dropping to 21.3 percent of its GRDP in 2015 and to 17.3 percent in 2020.
Despite the growth of tourism and services over the years, the province still lacks long-term planning for aquaculture, while the sea transport, seaports and sea-encroaching projects have reduced the area of mangrove forests, negatively affected the marine ecosystems and caused environmental pollution.
Coal mining associated with the conversion to a green production model
The Quang Ninh National Strategy on Green Growth for the period 2014-2020 set out twin goals - rapid and sustainable economic development and accelerated green-oriented industry development.
By the end of 2020, Quang Ninh is forecast to exceed the set targets and the Central Party has praised the province for its efficiency in converting to a green growth model, especially its spectacular breakthroughs in services and tourism and its attraction of foreign investors.
Effective environmental protection
In order to create a foundation for effective and sustainable implementation of the green growth model, the province has promoted administrative reform, developed its infrastructure and improved the quality of its human resources. The province has completed treatment of all seriously polluted coal, thermal power and cement industries. It has also overseen the installation of wastewater treatment system at all its industrial zones. Some 80 percent of the wastewater from coal mining has been treated, cleaned up mine disposal sites and the rate of collection and treatment of urban wastes has reached 90 percent.
Mineral exploitation units have strictly followed legal provisions, investing in environmental protection projects to minimize pollution and impacts on the environment. The Vietnam Coal Mineral Industry Group (Vinacomin) alone spends nearly VND1 trillion annually on such programs. The group and the Dong Bac Corporation have also implemented urgent projects on the environment of the coal industry in Quang Ninh Province in 2016-2020 period with more than 100 projects.
The province has also promulgated mechanisms and policies for the agro-forestry-fishery sector, applying high technology in production and processing; strictly prohibiting the exploitation of rare aquatic and marine products and developing large timber afforestation and organic agriculture.
In tourism exploitation and development, the province has strengthened management of tourist transportation and cruise ships; organized waste collection for ecological environmental protection in the bays and limited the expansion of urban land by construction of sea encroaching projects.