Upstream projects risk Mekong Delta disaster

FEARS are rising in the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam about food and social insecurity caused by hydropower dams and water-diversion projects planned or already started further upstream.

The delta has an extensive system of canals and green paddy fields that stretches for kilometres, creating a part of the world that seems blessed with abundance like a virtual Garden of Eden. Local people are down-to-earth, but troubled by the increasingly frequent and serious saltwater intrusion, which destroys their crops, while the riverbanks and seashore are eroding at an alarming rate.

Weak adherence to environment law leads to licensing of polluting projects

The requirement on environmental impact assessment was first set in the 2005 Environment Protection Law and the 1998 Water Resource Law. Later, the Water Resource Law was amended with many new provisions and standards, taking effect in January 2013.

In principle, when laws are amended, reports on environmental impact assessment must be made again, while old reports must not be used.

Vu Ngoc Long, head of the Southern Institute of Ecology, when talking about the Lee & Man pulp paper project, said that the big problem can be seen in the location of the plant.

Formosa to pay US$500mil. compensation for environmental disaster in central Vietnam

Formosa also made five commitments, including $500 million of compensation. It was the official information released at a government press conference in Hanoi this afternoon.

The press conference attracted public attention since it released the long-awaited official causes of mass fish deaths in the central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue.

At the press conference, a record of Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Limited Company Chairman Chen Yuan Cheng’s apology to Vietnamese people was also released.

Vietnam investigates mass fish deaths

Vietnam said on Thursday it was investigating whether pollution is to blame for a spate of mysterious mass fish deaths along the country’s central coast after huge amounts of marine life washed ashore in recent days.

Tonnes of fish, including rare species which live far offshore and in the deep, have been discovered on beaches along the country’s central coastal provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Hue.

“We have never seen anything like it,” aquaculture official Nhu Van Can told AFP on Thursday.

VN invents air pollution control system

Scientists of the Viet Nam National University’s technology university have successfully developed an air pollution management system using satellite photos.

Dr Nguyen Thi Nhat Thanh, from the research team, said Vietnam had not been able to control the increasing volume of emissions from industrial production, transport, construction and rapid urbanisation.

The level of dust nationwide is measured by only six automatic observation stations managed by the Environment General Department, she said, adding that an air pollution warning system was urgently needed.

Vinh Tan power plant still polluting residential areas

BINH THUAN (VNS) — Pollution caused by Vinh Tan Thermal Power Complex in southern Binh Thuan Province still persists despite local authorities' efforts to prevent cinders and ash from blowing into nearby residential areas.

Vinh Tan Thermal Power Complex consists of four projects in which Vinh Tan thermal plant No 2 was constructed and put into use since January last year. The other three plants (No 1, 3 and 4) are under construction.

Industrial zones polluting water with chemicals

HA NOI (VNS) — Many industrial zones nationwide failed to operate their waste treatment systems properly and have dumped large amounts of industrial waste with high levels of toxic chemicals into the environment, according to Dr Le Trinh, from Viet Nam Environmental Science and Development Institute.

Trinh said industrial waste and wastewater were major contributors to environmental pollution.

Industrial and urban wastewater has caused serious water pollution in many channels in HCM City, including the Tham Luong, Ba Bo and An Ha channels, according to the institute.

Plastic bags shouldn't be free

What are your thoughts on the tax on plastic bags? Does it work?

The implementation of the environmental protection tax on plastic bags helped to encourage manufacturers to produce more environmentally-friendly plastic bags as well as to limit the use of persistent materials in producing plastic bags.

In addition, some targets set by the scheme on strengthening control over pollution caused by plastic bags have been achieved.

The target to have the number of plastic bags used in supermarkets and malls fall by 40 per cent compared to 2010 was realised in 2015 in some big cities.

Highway project causes diversity loss for forest

THUA THIEN-HUE (VNS) — The construction of Cam Lo-Tuy Loan highway crossing through Bach Ma National Park, central Thua Thien Hue Province will have an adverse effect on ecology; however, there is no other choice for the location of the project, according to authorities.

The highway is a section of the Ho Chi Minh Trail and stretches from Cam Lo, central Quang Tri Province to Tuy Loan, central Da Nang City. It is 186km long with four lanes and is funded by the Ministry of Transport with a total of VND26 trillion (US$1.2 billion).