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USAID-funded Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project launched

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A view of Phú Quốc island in Mekong Delta’s Kiên Giang Province. — VNA/ Photo 

HÀ NỘI — A workshop took place both virtually and in-person in Hà Nội on Thursday to launch the Mekong Delta Coastal Habitat Conservation project, which was announced during US Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Việt Nam in August.

The workshop was co-organised by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Directorate of Fisheries under the Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

With a planned budget of up to US$2.9 million provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the project, running from August 2021 to July 2024, aims to protect key coastal habitats in the Mekong Delta region of Việt Nam to increase the sustainability of fisheries, enhance climate change adaptation, and improve biodiversity conservation.

By partnering with businesses, provincial governments, the management board of Phú Quốc Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Phú Quốc National Park in Kiên Giang Province and fishing communities, the project will work to mitigate threats to coastal biodiversity and fisheries, and enhance coastal resilience in the region.

IUCN Việt Nam Country Representative Jake Brunner said the project would help pilot and build new policies as well as open up new opportunities on finance.

Geographically, the project’s activities will focus on the delta’s lowest lying and most vulnerable coastlines along the East and West Seas, Phú Quốc MPA, and three small island clusters of Hải Tặc, Bà Lụa and Nam Du.

The Mekong Delta and its islands are home to 70 per cent of Việt Nam’s mangroves and 90 per cent of its seagrass beds. Fed by the sediment and nutrients from the Mekong River, these habitats support Việt Nam’s richest fishing grounds, but are also under growing threat.

The delta’s mangrove forests, which provide nursery habitat for sea bass, snapper, and other commercially important species, and important protection for coastal communities from storm surges, are declining due to sea level rise.

The delta’s crucial fishery habitats are further threatened by environmental pressures including prolonged droughts, rising temperatures, and aquaculture demand for groundwater, and intensive near-shore fishing which has depleted fish stocks, causing cascading ecological damage.

The main components of the project include strengthening management of Phú Quốc MPA for more effective habitat and species conservation; establishing a network of locally managed marine areas to protect coral reefs, seagrass beds in three island clusters; and exploring solutions to conserve and expand mangrove forests to increase fish nursery habitat and coastal biodiversity.

It is expected that the project’s outcomes will contribute to addressing the systemic threats in the Mekong Delta, in support of ongoing measures being taken by the Government of Việt Nam, such as the revised Fisheries Law, 2018 Resolution 36, Resolution 120, and 2019 Planning Law.

Director of the Directorate of Fisheries Trần Đình Luân said one of the current challenges was to protect the marine environment without affecting the livelihoods of local people.

The project was among concrete steps to raise people’s awareness of sustainable development in coastal areas, he stated.

Quảng Trọng Thao, Deputy Director the Kiên Giang Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the implementation of the project would be of great significance as it would look toward the engagement of many stakeholders in protecting the living environment, such as the community, local businesses, international organisations, managers, and scientists. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/environment/1063738/usaid-funded-mekong-delta-coastal-habitat-conservation-project-launched.html

Sci-tech-environment

Student start-up uses UVC light to kill viruses

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A group of students from Ly Tu Trong College (HCM City) came up with an idea to integrate UVC light in refrigeration units to eliminate viruses and bacteria, including SARS-CoV-2. 

Student start-up uses UVC light to kill viruses
Nguyen Duong Thanh, a member of the group installs UVC light into a cooling system. — Photo courtesy of Nguyen Duong Thanh

Final-year students Nguyen Duong Thanh, Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, Le Hoang Huy, Le Van Nam, and Tran Thanh Mai started the project after seeing the reality during their internship.

“We were installing cooling appliances for supermarkets as part of our internship. During this time, we noticed that there were micro-organism clusters in the cooling systems,” Nguyen Duong Thanh said.

“We then tried to figure out how the cooling appliances could still function as usual while minimising the amount of bacteria and viruses on its surfaces. Integrating UVC light was the optimal option.”

Their work was praised for its practicality at Startup Kite 2021, a start-up idea contest for vocational school students. 

Based on the project, the group established a cleaning service company specialising in cooling appliances, prior to the contest.

“Establishing a company makes it easier to receive orders and install the device. It is also our opportunity to apply our idea into reality,” said Thanh.

What’s even more remarkable is that the integrated UVC light can eliminate SARS-CoV-2 on the surfaces of the cooling systems.

This practical feature has earned them their very first orders from Cho Ray Hospital, Hoan My Hospital and the People’s Hospital 115. 

“Disinfecting cooling systems with UVC light can help sanitise hospital rooms for patients who have just undergone surgery,” said Thanh. 

“It can also reduce electricity use and periodic maintenance costs.” 

The project has received VND1 billion (US$43,878) in funding (equivalent to an 8 per cent share) and is under negotiation for another VND1 billion of investment.

Entering Startup Kite 2021, the group hoped to get more investment to scale up their production.

According to Hoang Van Viet, deputy head of the Refrigeration Department of Ly Tu Trong College in HCM City, the major advantage of the idea is that UVC light can be integrated into all types of cooling devices, especially air conditioning systems in supermarkets, hospitals and factories.

The modest cost to install UVC light (about VND1.4 million) is also a plus point in real-life operation. 

Talking about future goals, Thanh said the company had already set out plans for the next three years.

HCM City and the surrounding provinces will be the centre of their focus in 2022.

In the following years, they will concentrate on product distribution and collaborating with partners and distributors to provide their services on a larger scale.

Source: Vietnam News

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/student-start-up-uses-uvc-light-to-kill-viruses-798744.html

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Mondelez Kinh Do achieves 95% progress on sustainable packaging goals

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Mondelez Kinh Do continues to make progress towards its ambitious commitments to reducing the environmental impact of packaging and tackling plastic waste.

At present, up to 95% of Mondelez Kinh Do’s total packaging, including both plastic and non-plastic, is recyclable and reusable.

The company also has plans on doing validation for lamination film (PP-based material) for its products with sustainability material, as well as packaging material reduction by 20% for any new product development or re-innovation project.

This important milestone contributes greatly to the company’s long-term ambition to leverage its scale to reduce the impact on the environment and its commitment to achieving 100% packaging recyclable and labeled with consumer information across its portfolio by 2025.

To realize its commitments, Mondelez Kinh Do has significantly stepped up its efforts to make sustainable packaging not only available but also apparent to consumers.

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PRO logo is applied on the packaging of Mondelez Kinh Do’s products as an affirmation of its eco-friendly packaging.

As a member of the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam), a leading initiative focused on driving the circular economy and making recycling more accessible and sustainable, Mondelez Kinh Do takes a leading position in on-pack communication for recycling with transparency.

Accordingly, the company applies PRO logo on the packaging of its products, including AFC, Cosy, Solite, LU, Oreo, Slide, and all products of Kinh Do Tet… as an affirmation of Mondelez Kinh Do’s eco-friendly packaging.

According to the “Plastics – A Growing Concern” report recently released by Ipsos, Vietnam plastic waste is amongst the highest in the world. More than 1.8 million tons of plastic are generated in the country annually, while only 27% of which is recycled.

This situation requires local enterprises to take proactive measures to minimize negative impacts on the environment and raise consumers’ awareness of reducing plastic waste and proper waste recycling.

“Reducing the environmental impact of packaging and tackling plastic waste are urgent priorities for us, which we take extremely seriously. This priority is in line with our long-term commitment to preserve the planet and meet consumers’ aspirations every day,” said Mr. Anand Jakati, Director of Supply Chain, Mondelez Kinh Do Vietnam.

“As a member of PRO Vietnam, Mondelez Kinh Do now can better partner and influence our external stakeholders to drive a circular economy for Vietnam. Mondelez Kinh Do team has taken the lead for working on the flexible packaging platform and bring technical know-how as well as the partnership with our peers in a non-competitive way to look for win-win solutions”, he added.

Earlier this month, the company made some bold steps forward in ambition to build a more sustainable snacking company. With the commitment to a 2050 target to Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions across the full value chain.

Mondelez Kinh Do will take an end to end approach and will prioritize efforts which drives greatest impact. Some notable interim plans are laid out include: Designing 100% of packaging to be recycle ready by 2025; Sourcing 100% Cocoa volume for chocolate brands through Cocoa Life Program by 2025; Converting manufacturing electricity footprint to renewable energy; Replacing thermal fuels (natural gas, diesel etc.) by ‘green alternatives’; Water and food waste reduction programs across the supply chain; Improving efficiency of distribution networks by route optimization, improve container & truck utilization, investing in new mobility concepts, etc.

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Mondelez Kinh Do has significantly stepped up its efforts to make sustainable packaging not only available but also apparent to consumers.

In Vietnam, the leading snack company pioneers to simplify and use innovative packaging materials to facilitate recycling in existing infrastructure. The company continues to eliminate unnecessary plastic where climate change impact is favorable while delivering product safety and quality.

In recognition of Mondelez Kinh Do’s pioneering role in sustainable development in Vietnam, Mondelez Kinh Do has been ranked one of the Top 100 sustainable companies in 2021, based on the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) led by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry in coordination with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor.

PV

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/mondelez-kinh-do-achieves-95-progress-on-sustainable-packaging-goals-798853.html

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HCMC records lowest temperature since beginning of 2021

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Deputy Head of the Forecasting Division of the Hydro-meteorological Station in the Southern Region Le Dinh Quyet informed that HCMC recorded the lowest temperature of 22oC in the early morning of December 4 since the beginning of the year.

HCMC records lowest temperature since beginning of 2021

Previously, on December 2, the temperature in the city dropped to 22.4 degrees Celsius.
A cold continental high-pressure system, the strong intensity of the northeast monsoon and a low-pressure trough are considered as reasons for the cold air in the southern region.

It is forecast that Ho Chi Minh City will maintain sunny daytime and cool climate at nighttime and in early mornings.

According to the National Center for Hydrology Meteorology Forecasting, the Northern and North-Central regions have experienced the bitterly-cold weather with a temperature of below seven degrees Celsius through December 5 while the South- Central and Central Highlands regions have suffered from thundery rains.

Fog at night and early morning, the lowest temperatures between 11 degrees Celsius and 13 degrees Celsius, the gusty northeast monsoon of level 2-3 without rain at nighttime are common in the capital city of Hanoi in these days.

The Central Highlands and Southern regions are forecast to experience sunny daytime and thundery showers in the evenings.

Source: SGGP

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/sci-tech-environment/hcmc-records-lowest-temperature-since-beginning-of-2021-798574.html

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