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HCM City to change water sourcing locations



HCMC will change the location for water sourcing to the upstream of Saigon and Dong Nai rivers and then to Dau Tieng and Tri An reservoirs due to pollution fears.

Water sourcing location will be moved to the upstream of Saigon River

Vice-Chairman of HCM City People’s Committee Le Hoa Binh has approved the city plan for water supply system during the 2020-2025 period and the clean water supply and the clean water supply and end of groundwater extraction programme during the 2020-2030 period.

According to the HCM City People’s Committee, the current water sources of the Saigon and Dong Nai rivers, are being polluted while facing saline intrusion. The water companies have to deal with pollution from other city and provincial authorities along those rivers to have a good quality water.

The city authorities planned to move the water sourcing locations to the upstream of Saigon and Dong Nai rivers. In the future, the water companies will take water from Dau Tieng and Tri An reservoirs.

The city will also move the location for water sourcing in Cu Chi District 15-20km to the upstream which will be 10-15km away from the Thi Tinh and Saigon rivers. Wells will be covered up and plants will be asked to stop exploiting underground water so that by 2025, HCM City will only exploit a total of 100,000 cubic metres of water a day.

HCM City will build two water plants in the eastern and western areas of the city. One of them will be located in Thu Duc City with a capacity of 500,000 cubic metres a day. It is expected to be opened in 2040. The other one will be located in Hoc Mon District or Binh Chanh District with a capacity of two million cubic metres a day. It is expected to be put into operation in 2050.

The city is researching and considering building a series of reservoirs.

94% of the water come from Dong Nai and Saigon rivers with the remainder from underground water sources. However, there are many shortcomings and problems such as the lack of a quality management system on the pipeline. The water plants provide over 1.9 million cubic metres of water a day to the city in 2019 and 2.4 million cubic metres of water in 2020.

The goal is to increase the total capacity to 2.9 million cubic metres a day. The city will pilot public drinking tap water at several locations. Dtinews



Plastic bags and products still plague Hanoi



The use of plastic bags and products in traditional markets and shops continues to plague Hanoi.

Household waste, stored in plastic bags, is piled in Hoang Van Thai Street, Hanoi.

Phạm Huy, a small trader in a traditional market in Long Biên District, said plastic bags and products were selling in large quantities in local markets because they were not only cheap but also convenient.

It costs VNĐ30,000 (US$1.3) per roll of 100 plastics bags and VNĐ20,000 ($0.8) for 50 plastic cups, he said.

Huy said the number of people shopping at the market was very large and most of them asked for plastic bags. Few people carried their own bags to the market.

“If we do not use plastic bags, we have nothing to store things for our customers,” he said.

An owner of a food shop in Quán Thánh Street, Ba Đình District, said his customers often asked for takeaway food in plastic containers.

Although he knew of the impacts of plastic bags and products on the environment, he still bought them to store food for his customers, he said.

Hồng Hà, a resident of Ba Đình District, said due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, food and beverage outlets had to close and only sell online.

People often ordered using popular applications such as Grab and Now to eat and drink at home, she said.

The shops often used plastics bags and products to wrap up their wares for shippers to bring to customers, she said.


Lê Tuấn Định, deputy head of the city’s Natural Resources and Environment, said it was estimated that about 6,000 tonnes of waste were discharged daily in the capital, including 60 tonnes of plastic waste.

Plastic waste discharge was believed to increase year after year, adversely affecting the environment, he said.

In response to the situation, the city administration views combating plastic waste as a key task.

In 2019, the city issued Plan No 232/KH-UBND on ‘Preventing plastic waste and bags by 2020, a vision towards 2025’, calling on local administrative and public service agencies and State-owned enterprises not to use disposable plastic products and plastic bags, as well as mobilising organisations and individuals to say no to disposable plastic products.

The department has relevant agencies to strengthen dissemination to improve people’s awareness of the impacts of plastic waste on the environment. The agencies were told to find alternative materials to reduce the use of plastic products.

He said the department would conduct surveys on the use of disposable plastic products and the demand for recycled products to find alternative products to replace disposable plastic in local traditional markets and trade centres.

The department also compiled mechanisms to support enterprises to manufacture environmentally-friendly packaging, he said.

It was strengthening inspections and encouraging enterprises to manufacture environmentally-friendly packaging and pilot training programmes to improve capacity to design environmentally-friendly products for commercial, service and manufacturing facilities in the city.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide annually. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once and then thrown away. — VNS


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Winners of Kovalevskaya Award 2020 announced



Winners of the Kovalevskaya Award 2020, a prize dedicated to outstanding female scientists, were announced at a ceremony held jointly by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST) and the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee.

Winners of Kovalevskaya Award 2020 announced hinh anh 1

At the ceremony (Photo: VNA)

A team of female scientists from the Institute of Natural Products Chemistry under VAST, and Associate Professor, Dr Truong Thanh Huong, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardiology at the Hanoi Medical University, were honoured this year.

The team studied and created many products with high applicability that have been used widely and served public healthcare, such as “Khuong Thao dan” (a drug for the treatment of arthritis, degenerative spine pain, and bone pain), Cordyceps Sinensis, and essential oils.

Winners of Kovalevskaya Award 2020 announced hinh anh 2

The award is presented to Associate Professor, Dr Truong Thanh Huong, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Cardiology at the Hanoi Medical University (Photo: VNA)

Meanwhile, Huong has made contributions to Vietnam’s health sector by conducting many scientific studies to improve treatment relating to cardiovascular disease.

Speaking at the event, member of the Party Central Committee and President of the Vietnam Women’s Union Central Committee Ha Thi Nga said the award, named after Russian female mathematician Sofia Kovalevskaya, is presented annually to honour female scientists posting remarkable achievements in scientific research and application.

It is presented by a fund of the same name that operates in eight countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

The award has been presented in Vietnam since 1985, during which 20 collectives and 49 female scientists have been honoured./. VNA


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Government shows urgency in climate change battle



In a bid to ensure sustainable development and economic growth, the government has enacted a fresh action programme on continuing response to climate change, with new mechanisms in favour of private investment.

Government shows urgency in climate change battle
As Vietnam is among the most threatened countries by climate change, the state and people take decisive action.  Photo: Le Toan/ VIR

The government has promulgated Resolution No.06/NQ-CP on the Action Programme on continuing the implementation of Resolution No.24-NQ/TW by the 11th Party Central Committee on active response to climate change, improvement of natural resource management, and environmental protection.

The action programme, to be implemented until 2025, lays a foundation for ministries, agencies, and localities to formulate and implement their own plans on responding to climate change while strengthening natural resource management and environmental protection.

Under the programme, efforts are to be made to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 7.3 per cent below the business-as-usual scenario by 2025, and achieve 5-7 per cent in energy conservation out of gross energy consumption.

To this end, some key solutions are to be taken. Specifically, the government orders ministries and agencies to formulate and implement sturdy policies on shifting to digital economy, and development and expansion of models on circular economy, green economy, and low-carbon economy.

In addition to an increase in state budget in investing into responding to climate change, and managing natural resources and the environment, the government will have a flexible mechanism on allocating the use of natural resources under a market mechanism. Notably, the government will “develop markets for environmental goods and services, the carbon market, public-private partnership models, and green credits and green bonds, as well as mobilise investment capital from non-state sources,” according to Resolution 06.

To enable investors, Resolution 06 stressed that a number of related laws will be revised soon, including the Law on Land 2013, the Law on Minerals 2010, and the Law on Efficient Use and Saving Energy, as well as many other related documents.

Championing the cause 

Disaster and climate challenges have become a top priority for policymakers in Vietnam. This is evidenced in national and sector strategies, and these challenges are identified as one of the key pillars of the new national development plan for the next decade. For example, the government approved the National Climate Change Strategy in 2011, and the Vietnam Green Growth Strategy in 2012, which lay out a vision through 2050. Also, the government adopted the Support Programme to Respond to Climate Change for 2016-2020 that supports policy reform, capacity building, and increased investment for prioritised climate change and green growth actions in key sectors including energy, transport, forestry, and water resource management.

Internationally, the government has also championed the cause of the environment, including at the 2015 Paris Conference.

Climate and disaster risks are now recognised as a direct threat to Vietnam’s aspiration to become a high-income economy. Direct and indirect disaster losses are affecting not only the economy’s resilience and sustainability, but also its capacity to maintain rapid and inclusive growth. For instance, rapid infrastructure development in the absence of the consideration of disaster and climate risks is leading to rapidly growing exposure and vulnerabilities to adverse natural events.

“With an anticipated growth of 265 per cent over the next 10 years, annual average direct disaster losses on the coast alone are expected to grow to $4.2 billion a year,” stated the World Bank in its recently-published report on how Vietnam can become a champion of the green recovery.

The Asian Development Bank also said that the rapid expansion of gross fixed capital formation has been unplanned and without consideration of climate and disaster risks, leading to the rapid growth in people and assets exposed to adverse natural events. When all this environmental damage is combined, it is estimated to cost between 4 to 8 per cent to GDP every year due to a combination of direct negative effects on the stock of natural capital, as well as that of indirect externalities on labour productivity and on quality of physical infrastructure.

In addition, development gains could be undermined by the loss of human life; destruction of commercial property, cultivable land, and infrastructure; reduction in agricultural yields and labor productivity; loss of tax revenues; and strained public budgets from spending on relief and reconstruction. For example, farmers in the Mekong region have already recorded declining agricultural yields caused by poor development practices, including water mismanagement and land exhaustion, according to the World Bank. 

Changing behaviours 

“Vietnam is standing at a crossroads of post-pandemic recovery. It has an opportunity to set itself on a greener, smarter, and more inclusive development path that will bolster resilience to future shocks from both pandemics and climate-related disasters,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank country director for Vietnam. “The authorities must tackle the environmental and climate challenges with the same sense of urgency as they have done with COVID-19 because the costs of inaction are already visible and will become increasingly irreversible. The recent tropical storms in Vietnam’s central region and rising air pollution in the country’s major cities are good illustrations of this fragility.”

According to the World Bank, two lessons from the successful management of the global health crisis could be extended to the environmental agenda. The first lesson is that the best way to cope with an external shock is to be prepared in advance and move with early and bold actions. Secondly, beyond vision and capacity, the ability to embrace innovation and experiments is instrumental to change individual and collective behaviours, which lays at the root of strategies to cope with health and climate threats.

Ocean levels have already risen 20cm over the past three decades and could increase by a further 75cm by 2050 compared to the latter part of the 20th century. This could lead to flooding of 40 per cent of the Mekong Delta, 11 per cent of the Red River Delta, 3 per cent of coastal provinces, and over 20 per cent of Ho Chi Minh City, directly impacting 10-12 per cent of Vietnam’s population and 10 per cent of GDP, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.  VIR


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