Experts fear construction rush will ‘suffocate’ Da Nang

By Nguyen Dong   March 28, 2017 | 04:53 am PT
Experts fear construction rush will ‘suffocate’ Da Nang
The foundation for building villas on Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong
Say the government urgently needs to reconsider the development plan.

Construction overkill on the Son Tra Peninsula, home to the biggest langur population in Vietnam, could be turning the popular central city of Da Nang into the most suffocating city in Vietnam.

The city's government has announced a plan to develop the eastern part of the peninsula into a resort area, with construction covering around 2,900 hectares, or around half of the peninsula. The plan has been approved by the prime minister.

Hoang Su, former director of the Da Nang Urban Planning Institute and now deputy head of the construction department in neighboring Quang Nam Province, said Son Tra is a vulnerable and unique treasure, and the construction plan is simply “too much”.

Su said the residential area in Da Nang is dominated by bricks and cement, with construction covering 22,000 hectares, compared to 61 hectares of trees. With a population of one million people, each person in the city has only 0.6 square meters of trees, which is a tenth of national construction standards.

As a modern city with beautiful scenery, Da Nang is a popular destination, drawing 1.67 million foreign visitors last year, up 31.6 percent against the previous year.

“However, without the sea, mountains and Son Tra, Da Nang will become the most suffocating city in Vietnam,” Su said.

He said the prime minister urgently needs to reconsider the development plan for Son Tra before it’s too late.


A resort under construction by the coast of Son Tra. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Dong

Experts have raised concerns about the future of Son Tra after images of forests being cleared for construction were posted on social media last week.

Biologist Tran Huu Vy said the "cementization" of Son Tra will destroy the entire ecosystem by dividing jungles and habitats, leading to inbreeding. Animals on the peninsula will also face the risk of traffic if they are unable to travel through the trees.

Light and noise at night will affect the animals’ habits, longevity and reproductive health, Vy said. “We could lose the entire peninsula just by affecting one or two species.”

He said the peninsula is only a 15-minute drive from Da Nang's center, so it does not need to provide accommodation for tourists.

Vy, director of the GreenViet biodiversity conservation center in Da Nang, has been constantly vocal about the threat posed by construction to the duoc langur population on Son Tra.

Studies by the center found the primate reserve on the peninsula has shrunk from its original area of more than 4,400 hectares to less than 2,600 hectares over the past decade.

In March last year, around 75 endangered red-shanked doucs on the peninsula went missing after a large area of trees was cleared.

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