Pollution threatens 335 species in Vietnam: report

By Gia Chinh   March 12, 2022 | 03:31 am PT
Pollution threatens 335 species in Vietnam: report
A wildcat is released into the Cuc Phuong National Park in Ninh Binh Province, northern Vietnam, March 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
Pollution has caused 335 plant and animal species in Vietnam to become endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

At a conference in Hanoi Thursday, Nguyen Tuan Anh of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee cited a report on the impacts of environmental pollution on global biodiversity in 2021-22, which blames it for threatening 335 out of 1,020 species endangered in Vietnam.

Of them, 298 are affected by agriculture and forestry wastes like pesticides and herbicides, 258 by urban wastewater, 245 by industrial and military wastes, and 211 by air pollution.

Pham Thi Hai, a doctor at the Hanoi University of Civil Engineering, said Vietnam's air quality was heavily impacted by brick and cement factories in the 2010s.

"Substances like PM 2.5, PM 10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide produced by these factories have greatly impacted agricultural ecosystems."

Air pollutants can enter animals' air tracts causing respiratory conditions and weakening their immune systems, while sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, going through chemical reactions catalyzed by natural radiation and water vapor, could create acid rain and kill plants and animals, she added.

Prof Tran Hieu Nhue, former head of the Institute of Enviromental Technology at Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations, said many rivers are also being polluted. Studies in 2016-20 of the Nhue and Day rivers in northern Vietnam found their water quality was frequently poor, with pollution metrics all exceeding national standards.

"Even seawater near the coast has ammonia levels exceeding national standards. Studies in 2018-20 at the estuaries of Nhat Le, Gianh and Dinh rivers in the central province of Quang Binh all revealed pollution three to four times higher than national standards," Nhue said.

Water pollution could lead to algae, falling oxygen levels and the deaths of some animals, he added.

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