Thứ Hai, 6 tháng 2, 2017

As incomes rise, so does concern over pollution

The quick pace of the gross national product in Vietnam is resulting in rapidly deteriorating air quality and other environmental costs, say experts from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MOPI).

as incomes rise, so does concern over pollution  hinh 0

In a recently released study covering the five-year period 2011-2015, the MOPI revealed that air quality in the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City metropolitan areas had reached hazardous levels with high levels of harmful particle microns having been detected.
The levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air of the capital city of Hanoi and the commerce hub of Ho Chi Minh City measured 130% and 200% the permitted levels, respectively, per the report, said the MOPI.
Nitrogen dioxide is especially harmful to children, elderly and others with weak immune systems and dangerous levels in the air bear a direct correlation with greater incidences of respiratory diseases related to the lungs such as bronchitis.
Hoang Duong Tung, the deputy director of the country’s environment administration, recently told local media that traffic and manufacturing are the main causes of air pollution in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
The growing middle class and associated rising disposable incomes are resulting in more cars and motorbikes on the country’s roadways, and are a significant contributor to pollution, particularly in the urban areas, said Mr Tung.
He added that official records show on average 19,000 new vehicles are being registered in Hanoi and pollution caused by vehicles are a major factor contributing to the air quality of the capital city having been downgraded from unhealthy to hazardous.
Specifically, he noted that a 2013 National Environment Report showed air pollution in Hanoi was rated as unhealthy for more than 265 days of the year and the situation has degenerated since then.
Pollution has also begun to visibly affect people’s livelihoods. In April, fishing communities angrily protested when more than 100 tons of dead fish were discovered floating off the coast of four central provinces.
An investigation subsequently determined that Taiwan-owned steel plant, Formosa Ha Tinh, was the source of a toxic wastewater discharge that caused the die-off. In June Formosa agreed to pay US$500 million in liquidated damages for the losses resulting from its negligence.
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in turn issued an order directing that fishermen who lost income from the disaster be compensated in amounts ranging US$130-US$1,600 per person from the settlement with Formosa.
Jonathan London, a lecturer of global political economy at Leiden University in the Netherlands, has averred that the Vietnam public and private sectors have not paid sufficient attention to the environmental impact of many of their economic decisions.
In the rush to obtain foreign direct investment, far too often, noted Mr London, environmental concerns have been glossed over. He suggests that the Formosa situation is just the tip of the iceberg.
Xavier Depouilly, general manager for Indochina Research, has said the deteriorating environmental conditions in Vietnam are just one of several pressing challenges facing the government.
Though, the outlook for the economy of the Southeast Asian country remains positive, attitudes are changing, particularly among the populace of Vietnam and concern regarding environmental issues is trending skyward.
It’s clear Mr Depouilly underscored, that as incomes in Vietnam rise, so does concern over the quality of air and other forms of environmental pollution.

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