Pollution eats Vietnam's growth

By VnExpress   December 26, 2016 | 10:06 am GMT+7
Pollution eats Vietnam's growth
People ride through a thick layers of smoke created by burning waste materials in the street in Hanoi. Photo by Reuters

Experts have advised the government to dump cheap and dirty industries.

Environmental pollution and natural disasters are eating Vietnam's growth, according to new findings from Vietnam's National Center for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast (NCIF).

The NCIF study reported that both natural and manmade environmental problems will continue to consume about 0.6 percent of Vietnam's annual GDP from now until 2020, said Dang Duc Anh, head of the Forecast and Evaluation Department.

Anh added that policies to mitigate the effects of climate change and protect the environment could ensure sustainable development.

“Vietnam’s economic growth still heavily relies on the exploitation of natural resources and relatively low-tech assembly," said Tran Dinh Thien, the director of Vietnam Economic Institute. "Many industries such as cement and steel use a colossal amount of energy.”

Prioritizing energy-saving industries could put Vietnam on track toward a more sustainable development, Thien added.

Eighty percent of the nation's industrial parks have reported environmental violations, according to figures compiled by the General Statistics Office.

The office added that foreign-invested firms accounted for 60 percent of those caught discharging waste that exceeds Vietnam's environmental standards.

In April, an estimated 70 tons of dead fish washed ashore along more than 200 kilometers of coastline in Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue Provinces.

The Vietnam unit of Taiwan's Formosa Plastics was held responsible for the mass fish deaths, as government’s inspection found the company had discharged waste containing phenol, cyanide and iron hydroxides into the sea.

It created a seafood scare across the country and hit tourism in beach towns, harming the livelihoods of more than 200,000 people, including 41,000 fishermen.

Meanwhile, the World Heath Organization has reported that, every year, around 44,000 Vietnamese people die prematurely due to outdoor air pollution.

Vietnam ranks among 25 low-and middle-income countries that emit the most greenhouse gases, annually.

The country came in 23rd of 193 countries included in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index released by London-based Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting firm. Vietnam was among 30 countries rated at “extreme risk” on the list.

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