Vietnam’s environment ministry admitted its responsibility for the pollution from industrial zones and increasing loss of natural resources to so-called economic development in an online dialogue on Friday at the government website.
Nguyen Minh Quang, minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said construction plans for industrial zones were still unprofessional without a long-term vision on the environmental damage they cause.
“This is the responsibility of the whole system, with a big part from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,” he said.
Quang said the ministry will enhance natural resource management, controlling mineral excavation to avoid serious consequences for later generations.
At a recent session, the minister had suggested the National Assembly approves a plan that addresses uncontrolled resource exploitation and pollution from industrial zones.
The ministry has come up with the plan following many tip offs from the residents about titanium excavation right at the center of Hue UNESCO town, robust sand dredging that has been threatening many riverside communities, illegal gold mines, chemical leak at the bauxite plant in Central Highlands, pollution at the Red River and Ba Be Lake, which is among the world’s 100 largest fresh water lakes in northern Vietnam.
Figures from the ministry show that Vietnam had 183 industrial zones operating by the end of 2011, only 65 percent of which are equipped with wastewater treatment facilities. There are 103 industrial zones still under construction.
The ministry has also suggested to raise the highest punishment for polluters from the current VND80 million (US$3,850) to VND500 million and to VND2 billion in several cases.
“Our point is we have to protect the country’s resources. We are not using them for today but for many generations to come,” Quang said.