[enviro-vlc] HCM City conference looks at ways to protect the environment
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Thu Oct 9 06:05:34 EST 2008
HCM City conference looks at ways to protect the environment
HCM CITY — The city should have a comprehensive solution on environmental
protection to ensure the city’s sustainable development, said several delegates
at the conference on environmental protection yesterday.
The aim of the conference was to review the city’s current environmental
situation after 15 years of industrialisation and modernization and find better
measures to manage environmental issues, said Pham Phuong Thao, chairwoman of
the city’s People’s Council.
Delegates reported that the city was suffering from serious water and air
pollution due to the discharge of untreated waste water from several firms at
HCM City-based industrial parks.
Truong Trong Nghia, director of HCM City Trade Promotion Center, reported that
while the city has achieved a high growth rate in recent years, it has also led
to negative impacts on the city’s environment.
Nghia also noted that environmental management agencies have not fulfilled their
duty, even though a large amount of the State budget has been spent towards
environmental protection efforts.
The scale of polluted areas as well as the concentration of pollution in the
city is alarming, Nghia added.
Delegate Nguyen Van Khoa stressed that the law on environmental protection
provides the details to define violating firms but environmental management
agencies have not determined the penalties.
Currently, pollution is on the decline in urban areas, while in districts on the
outskirts of the city, it is increasing.
For example, Thay Cai and An Hacanals in Cu Chi District and the Ba Bup and Tran
Quang Co canals in Hoc Mon District are full of discolored and foul smelling water.
Nguyen Minh Hoang, head of the Economy and Budget Committee under the People’s
Council proposed that the city re-examine the environmental impact reports of
the 13 golf courses projects in the city.
Several delegates suggested that the council establish a committee or hire an
independent organisa-tion to evaluate the status of pollution within six months.
Based on the results, the city will co-ordinate with relevant agencies to issue
solutions to improve and protect the environment.
The committee proposed that the People’s Committee clarify the responsibilities
and authority of the management board of city-based industrial parks and export
processing zones with regards to inspecting and penalising polluting firms.
Enterprises should be required to strictly follow environmental regulations when
signing leases on land for their production activities, and the contract should
be canceled upon violation of these regulations, the committee added.
Those enterprises that have not had waste water treatment systems must quickly
install and connect to the general waste water treatment systems of industrial
parks by December of this year.
Meanwhile, the city needs to correct irrational zoning plans and put a temporary
hold on the expansion of industrial parks and golf course projects. — VNS
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