Worried about air pollution from burning of straw, ministry issues directive

Air quality in some provinces and cities in the North has been worsening recently, according to the ministry.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has asked 10 northern provinces and cities to strengthen inspections and strictly handle the burning of rice straw during the rice harvest.

The main causes are dust, emissions from transport, construction and industrial production activities, along with adverse weather (inverse heat), as well as the burning of rice straw and agricultural by-products.

“This is an annual and repeated activity of farmers in northern rural areas without any effective solution to thoroughly solve it,” a newly issued directive of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment stated.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment asked the People’s Committees of provinces and cities including Hanoi, Vinh Phuc, Bac Ninh, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Ha Nam, Hoa Binh, Phu Tho, Thai Nguyen and Bac Giang to direct local agencies such as the Departments of Natural Resources and Environment, Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development, Departments of Information and Communication, Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the People’s Committees of districts to organize propaganda campaigns to call for people to not burn waste, rice straw and agricultural by-products after harvesting.

Farmers’ associations, women’s unions and youth unions have been asked to urge their members to sign a commitment not to burn rice straw in fields.

Relevant agencies have been asked to develop projects to guide farmers to thoroughly collect and treat by-products and post-harvest straw into useful products; and to build environmental monitoring networks, including air environment monitoring, at the provincial level.

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the environmental police, and the local authorities will strengthen inspections and strictly handle the improper burning of waste and agricultural by-products after harvest. Traffic inspectors and traffic police will inspect and strictly handle vehicles carrying uncovered soil, rocks, construction materials, and solid waste from daily activities, which cause environmental pollution.

The head of the local government must bear responsibility if burning of waste, daily-life solid waste, agricultural by-products, transportation of construction materials and daily-life solid waste occurs.