ESSI

World Meteorological Day 2022 stresses importance of early warning, early action !

HÀ NỘI – Themed “Early Warning and Early Action”, the World Meteorological Day 2022 (March 23) spotlighted the vital importance of hydrometeorological and climate information for disaster risk reduction.

In response to the World Meteorological Day 2022, the Vietnam Meteorological and Hydrological Administration has compiled communication materials about the Day, including a documentary on the role of hydrometeorological and climate information in climate risk reduction, distributed relevant materials issued by the World Meteorological Organisation, and coordinated with other agencies to carry out activities.

The administration has also worked with the Việt Nam Institute of Meteorology, Hydrology and Climate Change to hold a scientific seminar on this issue. The virtual event gathered regional and provincial hydrometeorological stations nationwide.

Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Lê Công Thành said activities held in response to the World Meteorological Day, as well as the World Water Day (March 22) and the Earth Hour campaign need the participation of localities, businesses, and people, along with many countries around the world.

In particular, it is necessary to step up the application of digital technology in social media communications to further popularise the events’ significance, messages, and themes to each people, business, and society as a whole, he noted.

Climate change, including the increase of extreme weather conditions and rise of sea levels, has been severely affecting food security, water security, and sustainable development of many countries, including Việt Nam.

Việt Nam is among those suffering most from natural disasters and climate change. It is frequently hit by 21 out of the 22 types of natural disasters in the world, except for tsunamis. Natural disasters cause the death of more than 400 people a year and economic losses equivalent to 1 – 1.5 per cent of GDP annually over the last 30 years, statistics show.

Natural disasters are a serious threat to people’s safety and sustainable development, with considerable impacts on every socio-economic aspect, the environment, security – defence, population, and the economy.

Given this, Thành added, the country has maintained early warning and early action in hydrometeorological and climate information, along with disaster prevention and control, in recent years, thereby helping minimise disaster consequences and assist with recovery efforts.

Source: vietnamnews.vn

World Water Day 2022 urges greater attention to groundwater

World Water Day has been held on 22 March every year since 1993

HÀ NỘI – The theme of this year’s World Water Day is “Groundwater”, the hidden water resource that is critically important but not always fully recognised in sustainable development policymaking.

World Water Day has been held on 22 March every year since 1993.

Every year, the UN selects a specific theme for World Water Day to reflect different aspects of water. This international event looks to draw attention from people around the world to the importance of water resources, especially freshwater, and help enhance the sustainable management of these valuable resources.

Themed “Groundwater – Making the invisible visible”, this year’s campaign will explain groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems, agriculture, industry, ecosystems, and climate change adaptation.

The overarching message of the campaign is that exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population.

Châu Trần Vinh, Director of the Department of Water Resources Management under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said groundwater management had been carried out relatively well in all provinces and cities as seen in law dissemination, exploitation surveying, water resources assessment, groundwater exploration and exploitation licensing, groundwater use and protection planning, zoning areas of banned or restricted exploitation, and setting up the monitoring network.

However, he also pointed out that groundwater investigation and assessment have yet to be closely connected with socio-economic development planning or meet water exploitation planning requirements.

To improve groundwater management, localities need to step up communications to raise public awareness of water exploitation and use, enhance law enforcement, and boost the capacity of water resource investigation, research, and assessment.

Besides, they should also build and upgrade groundwater monitoring systems, carry out urban groundwater protection programmes, and make plans on groundwater protection and exploitation, firstly in the deltas and areas with high groundwater potential and exploitation demand, according to Vinh

Source: vietnamnews.vn

New car models meeting Euro 5 standard to make debut: VAMA

New car models meeting Euro 5 standard to make debut: VAMA hinh anh 1

Hanoi (VNA) – Members of the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (VAMA) will roll out various new models meeting the Euro 5 emissions standard, according to the association.

VAMA representative Dao Cong Quyet said the new models, to be launched in the coming months, are all equipped with on-board diagnostics (OBD), which is vehicle’s standard protocol to retrieve vehicle diagnostic information, and air filters reducing particulate matter (PM) and toxic air pollutants.

Communications to raise public awareness of using suitable fuel for vehicles meeting the standard have also been carried out and will be bolstered in the time to come.

New car models meeting Euro 5 standard to make debut: VAMA hinh anh 2
The Toyota Corolla Altis (Photo: VNA)

Consumers can look for suitable fuel types with support from petrol and oil businesses, or via Logigo and Petrolimex applications on smart devices, according to the Vietnam Petroleum Association (VINPA).

Both VAMA and VINPA are suggesting the Ministry of Science and Technology to promptly issue technical standards for fuel, which will serve as a foundation for imports, supplies and quality assurance, thus ensuring consumer rights.

All types of new cars in Vietnam must meet Euro 5 emissions standard from January 1 under a decision issued by the Prime Minister, Vietnam Register said.

Cars and motorcycles are among the major sources of emissions like carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide, particle pollution, and toxins in fuel, such as benzene. These cause air pollution, especially urban air pollution, directly affecting people’s health.

Euro 3 exhaust emissions standard have been applied on two-wheeled motorcycles since January 1, 2017, while cars using petrol and other fuels, excluding diesel, applied Euro 4 standard./.

Source: vietnamplus.net

Hoi An – the best tourism place in Vietnam aims to be ‘zero plastic waste’ destination

Hoi An aims to be ‘zero plastic waste’ destination hinh anh 1

Hoi An (VNS/VNA) – The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the centre for Supporting Green Development and PRO Vietnam have donated 54 ‘green houses’ (dust bins made from reform plastic) and waste classification tools to Hoi An City’s Women’s Union to boost recycling and zero plastic waste in the community.

The dust bins, which were recycled from plastic bags, single-use straws, styrofoam and low-value plastic waste, will be used to collect the single-use plastic and low-value waste for reform into useable tools, panels and furniture in Hoi An.

It also helps improve awareness in reducing plastic waste while promoting recycling among the community and tourists.

Low-value plastic waste types, including plastic bags, pieces of net, lure, fishing lines, hard plastic buoys, floating foam buoys, foam boxes; styrofoam containers, hard plastic pieces, plastic straws, food, and confectionery packages, are dumped because vendor garbage pickers cannot collect them.

In Hoi An, a tourism hub in central Vietnam, 30 percent of daily collected waste (about 110 tonnes) is low-value plastic waste (single-use cups and straws, styrofoam, milk box and food packages).

Tourist trading activities accounted for 40 per cent of daily waste in Hoi An.

Evergreen Labs set up the reform plastic factory to classify and recycle 1,000 tonnes of low-value plastic waste in Hoi An.

The Cham islands, 20km off the coast of Hoi An, have officially banned plastic single-use straws and cups and plastic bags.

About 100 businesses in Hoi An committed to reducing 30 percent single-use plastic and recycling 50 per cent of organic waste.

The ‘green houses’ programme has been implemented in the Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities initiative framework with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, the Local Solution for Plastic Pollution, sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development.

Bui Thi Thu Hien, Marine and Coastal Resources Program Coordinator at IUCN (Vietnam Office), said IUCN had launched a new garbage sorting programme as part of efforts to reduce plastic waste in Vietnam.

Hien said IUCN and Greenhub had supported Marine Protected Areas staff in Vietnam to identify plastic waste, build a database on plastic waste, and offer policy advice on reducing plastic waste and plastic production.

Tan Thanh weekend flea market on An Bang beach, 5km from Hoi An, has been building ‘green’ beach tourism by boosting plastic-free and zero-waste recycling among the community and tourists.

Cham islands and Cam Thanh commune, two favoured destinations in Hoi An, have been building as the first ‘zero waste’ sites in central Vietnam./.

Source: Vietnamplus.net

More lakes needed for the capital, not less

A corner of West Lake, Hà Nội. VNA/VNS Photo

Architect Tran Huy Anh speaks to VietNamNet online newspaper about the importance of natural ponds and lakes as Hà Nội’s bodies of water are being filled in to make way for real estate development.

What is your opinion on efforts to maintain the water surface in the capital?

Hà Nội’s master plan to 2030 has set the goal of “Green – Clean – Civilised”, including a green corridor accounting for 70 per cent of the natural area with rivers including the Đáy River, Nhuệ River, Tích River, Red River and Đuống River.

There is a criterion that new urban areas must use more than 10 per cent of the area to create new water surfaces.

In the past 10 years, the protection of lakes has not been effective. In the next 10 years, it is necessary to increase lake surface, renovate existing ponds and lakes, and dredge rivers to make up for the hundreds of thousands of hectares of rivers, lakes and semi-submerged low-lying fields that have been filled up for real estate projects.

There are natural lakes, like the West Lake, that are polluted. If you cycle every morning around the West Lake, you can smell the waste right away.

Where does the wastewater from hundreds of real estate projects and houses on the lakeside go? The evaluation report published by the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture in October 2021 said the wastewater treatment plant near the lake is now having difficulty receiving wastewater.

In Long Biên District, the authority has been filling in natural ponds and lakes, saying they will build new artificial lakes, what do you think about this approach?

A natural lake has a different value than an artificial lake because it forms a cyclic, organic ecosystem by itself. The lake associated with the real estate project creates a beautiful landscape, but there are lakes that cause harm to the environment if chemicals are abused to treat water pollution, or artificially salted water. In a short time the water in the lake will be dead water that cannot be regenerated.

The race for commercial value is the job of real estate developers. Creating a sustainable living environment for people is the responsibility of all levels of the government.

We need to clarify two types and two responsibilities. It is difficult to ask real estate developers to take care of the quality of life for the community. They only have commercial liability to their customers.

The responsibility to protect the living environment for the people is none other than the authorities and the people need to strengthen supervision in accordance with the law. More specifically, people can supervise to see if the filling of a natural lake or digging a new lake is really for the benefit of the community.

More lakes needed for the capital, not less

Update: March, 05/2022 – 12:54

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A corner of West Lake, Hà Nội. VNA/VNS Photo

Architect Trần Huy Ánh speaks to VietNamNet online newspaper about the importance of natural ponds and lakes as Hà Nội’s bodies of water are being filled in to make way for real estate development.

What is your opinion on efforts to maintain the water surface in the capital?

Hà Nội’s master plan to 2030 has set the goal of “Green – Clean – Civilised”, including a green corridor accounting for 70 per cent of the natural area with rivers including the Đáy River, Nhuệ River, Tích River, Red River and Đuống River.

There is a criterion that new urban areas must use more than 10 per cent of the area to create new water surfaces.

In the past 10 years, the protection of lakes has not been effective. In the next 10 years, it is necessary to increase lake surface, renovate existing ponds and lakes, and dredge rivers to make up for the hundreds of thousands of hectares of rivers, lakes and semi-submerged low-lying fields that have been filled up for real estate projects.

There are natural lakes, like the West Lake, that are polluted. If you cycle every morning around the West Lake, you can smell the waste right away.

Where does the wastewater from hundreds of real estate projects and houses on the lakeside go? The evaluation report published by the Hà Nội Department of Planning and Architecture in October 2021 said the wastewater treatment plant near the lake is now having difficulty receiving wastewater.

In Long Biên District, the authority has been filling in natural ponds and lakes, saying they will build new artificial lakes, what do you think about this approach?

A natural lake has a different value than an artificial lake because it forms a cyclic, organic ecosystem by itself. The lake associated with the real estate project creates a beautiful landscape, but there are lakes that cause harm to the environment if chemicals are abused to treat water pollution, or artificially salted water. In a short time the water in the lake will be dead water that cannot be regenerated.

The race for commercial value is the job of real estate developers. Creating a sustainable living environment for people is the responsibility of all levels of the government.

We need to clarify two types and two responsibilities. It is difficult to ask real estate developers to take care of the quality of life for the community. They only have commercial liability to their customers.

The responsibility to protect the living environment for the people is none other than the authorities and the people need to strengthen supervision in accordance with the law. More specifically, people can supervise to see if the filling of a natural lake or digging a new lake is really for the benefit of the community.

In 2008, the Long Biên area was severely flooded despite being very close to the two basins of the Red and Đuống rivers. What solutions are needed to make use of natural ponds and lakes for drainage and preventing flooding?

Long Biên (Gia Lâm area and its vicinity) has been flooded for a long time. Previously, when it was flooded, the street would be flooded first and then the lakes. Now the lake is filled, so streets are inundated, the residential areas on both sides of the old streets have been flooded for decades. The movement to fill lakes, low-lying fields and sell land is still increasing.

While there is no system to collect wastewater and surface water and pump wastewater into rivers, the solution is to increase the area of lakes and ponds, even parks, gardens, sports playgrounds, etc., with low-lying terrain to collect water when it rains.

It creates water batteries: instantly collects water that does not flow into residential areas to the ground or slowly into drainage channels and sewers. When the rain and flooding is over, it will be dry again and back to the function of public space and urban landscape.

If designed well, these semi-submerged low-lying areas will be combined into a multi-purpose space, adapting to extreme situations caused by flooding or increasingly complex droughts.

We need master solutions, but each specific small solution for a small pond also needs to be calculated carefully. If we don’t do small things carefully, we can’t have a good plan for the whole area.

How is the protection, planning and preservation of natural lakes implemented in big cities of other countries?

Most developed countries have also experienced the destruction of natural resources leading to pollution, so they “have waken up” and actively protected the environment.

For example, the Thames River in London once was filled with garbage, which was the cause of water pollution and cholera in the city.

The city’s authorities were determined to change, building their own sewage system that did not enter the river, creating strict regulations and the Thames and all rivers and lakes in England were strictly protected.

After the war, Japanese cities saw fast industrial development, discharging toxic wastewater from factories, polluting residential areas. They also steadfastly pursued the policy of “he who discharges has to pay”. The “Law on water environment protection” has permeated into every citizen and protecting rivers and lakes has become part of the Japanese way of life.

Countries around us like Singapore or Malaysia are good examples of the world’s most advanced legal system and solutions to protect clean water, rivers and lakes. VNS

 

Vietnam’s Circular Economy: Revised Law on Environmental Protection

Vietnam’s economic activities have been mainly based on a linear economy which means taking a traditional approach to the “take-make-dispose” model. In this model, the use of collected raw materials is maximized during the production process, eventually resulting in the disposal of unusable materials.

This tends to produce a significant amount of unwanted, and sometimes dangerous landfill waste while contributing to the scarcity of raw materials given their irrational usage.

Currently, about 85 percent of the waste generated in Vietnam is buried without treatment in landfill sites, posing tremendous detrimental effects to the environment.

However, Vietnam has been gradually transforming into a circular economy. The circular economy is based on a three-pillar system involving the “make-use-recycle” model, which promotes waste reduction and lowers resource extraction through recycling, reducing, and reusing.

The concept of a circular economy treats used plastics as valuable material resources to be recycled rather than as waste to be discarded. This is highly favorable to promote sustainable development as it introduces an opportunity for Vietnam to scale up recycling and other plastic circularity efforts.

Plastic and waste management situation in Vietnam

As an emerging industrial hub with accelerating economic growth, Vietnam has severe environmental issues, particularly in waste management and plastic pollution. The total volume of waste each year in the country is approximately about 25.5 million tons, of which 75 percent goes into landfills.

With growing urbanization and a rising middle class, the consumption and demand for plastics have also grown rapidly in consumer packaging, construction, household goods, and automotive industries.

In 2019, the plastic industry contributed about US$17.5 billion to Vietnam’s economy, equivalent to 6.7 percent of the country’s GDP. On average, a Vietnamese now consumes 41.3 kilograms of plastics a year, equivalent to 7,600 plastic grocery bags.

To tackle the situation and towards a sustainable economy, the government has been deploying long-term action plans and setting ambitious recycling targets.

National action plans and strategies

Conscious of growing marine pollution, Vietnam has launched a national action plan for the management of marine plastic litter, aiming to reduce 75 percent of Vietnam’s marine plastic debris by 2030. By then, the country strives to eliminate the use of single-use plastics and non-biodegradable plastic bags from all coastal tourism areas. Meanwhile, all protected marine areas should be free of plastic litter.

The government has also demonstrated a strong dedication to tackle sustainable development and climate change at the Conference of the Parties (COP26) with its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

However, building a circular economy requires more than just facilitating recycling, reusing, and regenerating. It specifies a hierarchical transformation in distribution and consumption at the micro-level – production, businesses, consumers, mid-level – eco-industrial parks, and macro-level – city, region, country.

Currently, Vietnam is slowly moving up the ladder with its efforts in facilitating waste management and recycling at a micro-level.

Provisions to the Law on Environmental Protection

In January 2022, the revised Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) 2020 came into effect. In general, the law highlights the responsibilities of ministries and localities to integrate circular economy in planning strategies, development plans, waste management, and waste recycling.

The 2020 LEP introduces the concept of circular economy through fostering extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy, highlighting the responsibility of producers and importers to recycle products and packaging. Following this, the government issued Article 54 and Article 55 which details requirements on collection, disposal, and recycling of waste products, plastic waste, and others.

EPR is an environmental policy approach in which a producer’s responsibility for a product is extended to the waste management stage. It was first introduced in the 2005 Law on Environmental Protection, however, to which no mandatory recycling quota for companies was implemented.

This resulted in their reluctance to facilitate EPR given the lack of specifications from the authorities. Therefore, the provisions of EPR in the revised LEP create a legal framework for EPR to be enforced.

Specifically, the law requires that domestic solid wastes must be sorted into reusable or recyclable solid wastes, food wastes, and other solid domestic wastes. Additionally, Article 54 provides that producers and importers of products and/or packages with recycling value are responsible for collecting them for post-use recycling at the obligatory recycling rates.

This applies to both recyclable products and packaging, and waste treatment. There are two options to which manufacturers can comply with the law:

For example, laptops are products of recycling value. As such, they must be collected for recycling at the recycling rate of 20 percent and according to stated (X) specifications. For example, if Producer A sells 3 million kgs worth of laptops on the Vietnamese market in one year under brand A, producer A must collect and recycle 600,000 kg of after-use (abandoned) laptops.

What does it mean for businesses?

Encouraging plastic recycling in businesses is expected to mobilize increased private sector investment to help address plastic pollution while supporting key industries such as tourism, shipping, and fisheries.

The circular economy also presents four benefits for businesses’ sustainable development which are resources efficiency, environment protection, economic development, and social benefits.

To comply with the law, Vietnam’s manufacturers and producers will now have to register recycling plans and report recycling results annually to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Local and foreign-invested companies are also advised to prepare recycling plans and budgets for EPR accordingly to address new requirements imposed by the new law.

However, transforming into a circular economy requires a rigorous regulatory framework that allows all economic sectors to apply the model in their production from manufacturing to consumption and waste management.

Therefore, to fasten the process, Vietnam should strengthen the cooperation of the government with business entities, facilitate effective partnership with the private sector while fostering trust among businesses. With increasing government policies and raising awareness of businesses and the community, Vietnam is set to become a competitive leader in pursuing sustainable economic development.

 

Source: vietnam-briefing.com