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Environment ministry builds digital map, responding to 1-billion tree programme



Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Trần Hồng Hà plants a tree during the launching ceremony of the New Year Tree Planting Festival in Hà Nội on Sunday. —VNA/ Photo

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has built a digital tree map in Việt Nam to serve the identification of planting sites as well as management and taking care of trees throughout the country.

The map’s database, including information about tree species, planting process and characteristics of trees during the growing process, was expected to improve the efficiency of managing and taking care of trees nationwide, said Minister Trần Hồng Hà at a launching ceremony of the New Year Tree Planting Festival and responding to the Government’s programme of planting 1 billion trees during 2021-25, held in Hà Nội on Sunday.

More than 60 years ago, President Hồ Chí Minh wrote an article which was published in Nhân dân (The People) newspaper, stressing the significance of tree planting to each person, each family and the entire nation. It has since become an annual Vietnamese custom each Lunar New Year.

Hà said the database would be put on the App store as an application soon after it is finished.

The application would help State-management agencies assess the current distribution of green trees, monitor the trees’ growing process and connect tree providers and growers, he said.

Besides, the digital map would also assist the agencies to identify areas in need of ecosystem restoration, prevention of salinity intrusion and anti-desertification.

Therefore, Hà called upon every individual and organisation in the country to participate in the festival and the programme.

He said he expected all Vietnamese people to help in planting and protecting trees. It aimed to express the commitment and responsibility of protecting the environment and adapting to climate change from today’s generation to the next generations.

Under the directive No 45/CT-Ttg on implementing the New Year Tree Planting Festival and improving forest protection and development, the country will plant 1 billion trees during 2021-25, of which, nearly 700 million trees will be planted in urban and rural areas and more than 300 million trees will be planted in the forest. In 2021, the country will plant about 182 million trees.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chu Ngọc Anh chairman of the People’s Committee of Hà Nội ordered districts and towns of the city to disseminate information to local residents about the importance of planting and protecting trees.

Additionally, each household was encouraged to plant trees and flowers to make Hà Nội a city with four seasons of blooming flowers, he said.

It targeted that the city would plant over 300,000 trees this year and each resident would plant one tree by 2030, he said. —




Char coal stoves must be eliminated





 Lê Thanh Thuỷ, head of the Bureau for Project Management and Communication under the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment talks to the newspaper Tài Nguyên và Môi trường (Natural Resources and Environment) on Hà Nội’s determination to end the use of charcoal stoves

Do you think that by the year 2021 Hà Nội will be able to eliminate the use of charcoal stoves?

According to the latest report from all 30 districts, precincts and towns in Hà Nội, by late December 2020, almost 500,000 charcoal stoves in both the inner city and districts had been eliminated – a decrease of some 91.61 per cent.

According to our plan, by late 2021, charcoal stoves will be totally eliminated in the city. The Hà Nội Department of  Natural Resources and Environment has worked closely with all People’s Committees in the city and concerned agencies to make sure the plan will be successfully implemented.

To achieve this goal, we have launched a communication campaign to ask people to switch to other cooking means. We are confident that our goal will be achieved in accordance with the plan.

What about poor households which are not able to use other cooking means instead of charcoal stoves?

In 2018, the Hà Nội Department of Environmental Protection worked with the Netherland Development Agency to look for new stoves meeting Vietnamese national standards to replace the old stoves – the new stove is coded CCBM and it has met the three criteria laid down by the Viêtnamse authorities – i.e friendly to the environment with fewer fumes released during the cooking, energy-saving and safety.

What’s more important is that the cooking materials are all by-products of farming like rice husk, sawdust and others.

However, the use of sawdust has caused environmental problems, so the Hà Nội Department of Natural Resources and Environment has worked closely with other agencies to look for new cooking materials which are more friendly to the environment instead of sawdust.

By now five districts and precincts in Hà Nội have given up using the coal-fired stoves. Hopefully in the years to come Hà Nội will achieve the target set by the city authorities to eliminate the use of coal-fired stoves.

Do Hà Nội authorities have any plan to eliminate the use of coal-fired stoves in the near future?

Under Decree No.155/2016.NĐ-CP which was issued on November 18, 2016, anyone who has violated the Law on Environment by discharge contaminated air to the environment – including the fumes discharged from coal stove – will be fined.

However, that is only what has been written in the law and the coal stoves used by many households in both rural and poor urban areas are still rampant. This is a big challenge for the Hà Nội authorities. Yet, in the near future, the Hà Nội authorities will come up with a stronger legal document to penalise the activities of any organisation or people who produce the coal fire stoves to sell in the market for profits. 



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Vietnamese-made video conferencing platforms not popular in home market, Zoom dominates



Launched at a time when demand is very high, Vietnam’s video conferencing software products still cannot compete with foreign products in the home market.

Vietnamese-made video conferencing platforms not popular in home market, Zoom dominates

Teachers and students have become used to video conferencing software, but they still face problems during study. Students complain they sometimes are thrown out of class because of unstable internet connections.

Most schools still use Zoom for online teaching, though experts have warned of security problems and limitations in free versions.

Many online conferencing solutions have been developed by Vietnamese firms, including Zavi by VNG, CoMeet by CMC TS, NetNam, iWay, FDS and DQN, and TranS by Nam Viet.

CoMeet is a made-in-Vietnam software product with no interruption during conferences thanks to 100 percent use of domestic bandwidth with high customization features, tailored to every business.

However, despite the appearance of a series of Vietnam’s video conferencing platforms, many schools and businesses still use Zoom, while others prefer Microsoft Teams or Google Meet to Vietnamese products.

The Zoom app ranks No 1 among the free apps on Play Store and App Store. Google Meet ranks second.

Zoom remains the top choice, though Vietnam’s software products have outstanding features, high competitiveness and provide support in the Vietnamese language.

Zoom faced criticism when it was found leaking personal information of hundreds of thousand of users, transferring data to Facebook. It has been prohibited by the US and UK government agencies because of security vulnerabilities.

However, Zoom has been growing steadily with a record number of 300 million users daily compared with 10 million users before the pandemic.

Explaining this, experts said other software products either have too many barriers or are too difficult to use and are less known than Zoom.

For individual users, there are problems even more concerning than the security problem. The troubles students most complain about are the low-quality sound, blurred images and network lag. It is difficult to find out if these are caused by the computer/smartphone configuration, app/software or the transmission line.

As for businesses, if a company decides not to use Zoom, it has to persuade its partners not to use Zoom as well and re-install machines that serve video conferences.

Nguyen Hong Phuc, a security expert in HCM City, said that is why his firm still uses Skype when working with foreign partners.

Foreign platforms are still preferred in Vietnam thanks to certain advantages, including the high number of features integrated in platforms and the large ecosystem. 

Phuong Nguyen


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Made-in-Vietnam satellite to be launched into orbit this September



Development of NanoDragon, a micro satellite developed by a team of Vietnamese engineers, has been fully completed and the device is set to be sent to Japan to undergo quality control before being launched into orbit in September.

Made-in-Vietnam satellite to be launched into orbit this September

VNSC engineers and their NanoDragon micro satellite. (Photo; VNSC)

Dr. Le Xuan Huy, deputy director general of the Vietnam National Space Centre (VNSC), says the satellite, which weighs approximately four kg, has been completely researched and manufactured by VNSC engineers. Indeed, local workers have completed the project through its design phase to its installation, including the mechanical structure and power distribution circuit.

In the near future, NanoDragon will be sent to Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology in order to undergo further tests in a simulating environment. Following the completion of these tests, the satellite is due to be returned to Vietnam before being launched by the Japanese Epsilon missile in September.

Dr. Huy notes that the micro satellite is anticipated to operate in solar synchronous orbit (SSO) at an altitude of roughly 520 km. Its main task will be to integrate an Automatic Identification System (AIS) used for the purpose of tracking and monitoring vessels at sea. In addition, it will make use of an optical imaging device in order to verify the quality of the satellite posture controller while operating in orbit.

At present, engineers from the VNSC are putting the finishing touches to installing the ground station which will operate the satellite following its launch.

The VNSC is a pioneer agency in the country that researches and develops modern space technologies that aim to support economic development and environmental protection locally.

In addition to NanoDragon, it previously researched and manufactured the PicoDragon satellite which weighs one kg, along with the MicroDragon satellite which weighs 50kg, both of which proved to be highly-successful projects.

Vietnam is one of the countries in the world to be most affected by global warming and climate change. Space services and technologies will help the nation to gain a better understanding of climate change whilst supporting the process of monitoring and prevention of natural disasters, thereby contributing to mitigating their consequences.



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