Thursday, January 12, 2017

Choose how to deal with the Environment

9:00 AM

2016 is the year of many environmental catastrophes, which is a wake-up call for choosing temporary socio-economic development over its long term effects. At this point, rather than just focusing on growth objectives, Vietnam needs to take drastic action to make its commitment to sustainable development a reality, beginning with the choice of environmental behaviors.

The environment is overwhelmed:

2016 is a year of many environmental incidents, including serious discharge of marine pollutants in the four central provinces of Ha Tinh Formosa Hung Nghiep Co., Ltd. The current sting is rooted in the fact that, over the long term, we deal with a lack of respect for the environment, sometimes even in places that squeeze the environment to serve the purpose of escape. Poor and "burned" stage of economic growth. So, it can be said that we have not avoided the "tipping point" of paying the environmental costs for industrialization in many countries such as Japan, Korea and recently China.

This shows that natural resources, when exploited, can be unsustainable, and also ineffective. Minerals that are mined for export without control, thus causing environmental degradation in mining areas. Land intensification increased productivity, color by the use of chemical fertilizers, and pesticides improperly. Natural forests are heavily exploited and mangroves are destroyed for aquaculture, thus reducing 67% of their area compared to 1943. The massive and small-scale hydro power development has caused many of these situations: Deforestation, depletion of resources, disruption of ecosystems, flood and waste discharges, and over flooding of bodies of water. Also, the fishery resources are reduced due to over fishing and irresponsible fishing methods.

The environment in many areas is severely polluted due to the large amount of waste that can and should've been recovered. A report on the current state of the environment in 2011-2015 reveals that the air environment in large cities is polluted by dust, and that the number of vehicles increases rapidly while the infrastructure and industrialization try to keep with the demand of the modern world.are not met. The rate of domestic wastewater treated is only about 10%; these come from lakes, ponds and canals in urban areas where waste water is heavily polluted. After more than 20 years of implementation of the Law on Environmental Protection, we only have about 25% of the total 283 industrial zones complying to this law, while 95% of the nearly 900 industrial clusters have no wastewater treatment system and about 60% of rural solid waste is not collected and treated. Environmental pollution in small manufacturing villages, mining areas, thermal power plants, and cement and steel factories (to name a few), has not been prevented.

Meanwhile, climate change (CC) is developing and has become more complicated, unpredictable and has increased its effect to our world. We are witnessing the rise of extreme weather events, with more intense, more unpredictable storms occurring. Floods due to heavy rainfall in Central Vietnam; Severe droughts in the Central Highlands, South Central Coast and especially in the Cuu Long River Delta in 2016 have caused severe damage to the country and its people. It can be said that nature is angry and is taking action to respond to the negative impact of human's abuse on the natural environment, requiring people to wake up and take corrective actions for their own mistakes.

Choose effective management:

In the context of facing many challenges of resource degradation, environmental pollution and climate change, in September 2015, the United Nations officially passed and called for the implementation of the 2030 agenda with 17 objectives On sustainable development. These targets emphasize environmental protection and preservation, so that, by 2030, countries should strive to achieve "decoupling" between economic growth and environmental degradation. In addition, 2015 will also see the attainment of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, with a historic commitment to cut carbon emissions, aiming to keep Earth temperatures from rising CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) by the end of the 21st century.

National strategies for sustainable development, environmental protection, climate change, green growth have been issued, emphasizing that development must be in harmony with nature, while respecting the laws of nature and influencing everybody to be environmentally friendly. This will allow us to gradually move to green growth, low and carbon development. The goal is to curb rising levels by 2020, and by 2030, we must prevent or reverse the tendency to increase pollution and deplete environmental resources. On the other hand, Vietnam has also pledged to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% compared to the normal development scenario of 2030 to join hands with the international community in responding to climate change.

Priority in environmental protection today is to further promote the prevention and control of environmental pollutants by not allowing new pollutants to be generated, while reducing the sources of pollution. We must carry out accumulation of national exhaust sources and conduct close monitoring of its facilities.

-Doctor. Nguyen Trung Thang 
Institute of Strategy, Policy, Natural Resources and Environment
-Translation: Christopher
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