[enviro-vlc] Nongtha village... from wetland to vietland
vern.weitzel at gmail.com
Thu Sep 2 08:04:12 EST 2010
From: Moderator <laofab at gmail.com>
Date: 1 September 2010 1:50:33 PM PDT
To: LaoFAB <laofab at googlegroups.com>
Subject: [LaoFAB] Nongtha village... from wetland to vietland
Reply-To: laofab at googlegroups.com
Here are two articles about Nongtha published 8 months apart. What
hope is there for the remaining wetlands of Laos?
Vientiane Times, 01 Sep 2010
The Ha Do Group of Vietnam will invest US$250 million to develop the
area of Nongtha village in Vientiane's central Chanthabouly district.
The project will develop the area of Nongtha into a new urban area
that will include infrastructure improvement, environmental protection
and residential construction.
Mr Visay Savanna ( right ) shakes hands with Mr Nguyen Trong Thong
after signing the agreement on Monday in Vientiane.
The ceremony to launch the project was attended by Vientiane Mayor, Mr
Sombat Yialiher, and Vietnamese Ambassador to Laos, Mr Ta Minh Chau.
A project agreement was signed by Director of the Vientiane Planning
and Investment Department on Monday in Vientiane Mr Visay Savanna, and
President of the Ha Do Group Company, Mr Nguyen Trong Thong.
The Ha Do Group's investment in Nongtha village is one of 13 projects
taking place in Vientiane to mark the city's 450th anniversary as the
capital of Laos in November, so all sectors concerned will do their
best to facilitate the projects' implementation, said Mr Sombat.
He added that many companies have investigated the possibility of
developing the Nongtha area in the past but none have actually gone
ahead with it until now.
The Ha Do Group now holds a 50-year concession on a total area of
74.85 hectares in Nongtha, and work is due to begin shortly.
Previously, the company has helped to develop many new urban areas in
the Vietnamese cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Danang, said Mr Thong.
He said the first phase of the project will invest US$80 million to
develop Nongtha into a modern urban area which will contribute to the
overall socio-economic and residential development of the city.
According to Mr Thong, the development will be a source of income and
employment for local residents and will play a part in economic
expansion, as well as improving the city's infrastructure.
*Nongtha wetland features in environment protection*
Vientiane Times, 29 Jan 2010
With the backdrop of Nongtha wetland, Chanthabouly district governor
expressed his wish that the human residents could have as much
appreciation of the environment as the birds that visit the lotus
flowers there each year.
Mr Saythong Keodouangdy spoke to Vientiane Times yesterday at a
ceremony organised by the International Union for Conservation of
Nature (IUCN) to mark “Wetland Day” on February 2.
More than 10,000 birds make the wetland their temporary home when the
lotus flowers are in bloom.
Mr Saythong said while birds understood the importance the wetland as
a source of food and sustenance, too many residents of the village and
surrounds didn't care about protecting their environment.
Nongtha wetland has long been an important source of food for the
local people, providing edible plants, traditional medicines, fish and
Development in the area is encroaching on the wetland and polluting
the water yet many residents do not seem to care, Mr Saythong said.
Seasoned fisherman Mr Bounmy Bhodhisane complained to the press that
he and other partners in the area can now catch a total of only six to
seven kilos of fish per day if they are lucky.
“This is different from the past, when we used to catch 12-24 kilo per
day. Today, just one kilo is difficult,” he explained.
Known affectionately as Grandpa Bounmy, he has spent more than 60
years fishing the area and is worried that if Nongtha's environment is
destroyed, then the fish will disappear into memory.
With this in mind, representatives of the IUCN and government
officials in Vientiane organised a ceremony to promote protection of
Working with local organisations, they came together to organise
activities with the local media to raise the level of awareness of
IUCN Country Representative, Ms Latsamy Sylavong, said that the role
of the media was very important in promoting protection efforts.
The participants were briefed on Wetland Day and the importance of
wetlands to those animals and people that depend on them.
Participants from concerned government sectors, local officials and
people from the village were in attendance.
The media interviewed several of the officials and found them to be
very supportive of the cause.
“This wetland is very important for the livelihood of these people, we
should work together to increase awareness so people can continue to
use it well into the future,” Ms Latsamy said.
Head of Nongtha village, Mr Souphan Keobounma, said that a few years
ago some people from outside the village began using electric-shock
fishing methods in the pond.
He said this was a dreadful practice because it kills all nearby fish
and aquatic life, not only the ones that can be eaten.
“We worked with the headmen from the other villages to discourage this
practice as well as making sure everyone knew it was illegal. We have
not had that sort of problem since,” Mr Souphan said.
Since 2003, the IUCN has been marking the day with various activities.
Last year they celebrated with students of the National University of
Laos, while this year reaching out to the media was the emphasis.
Activities organised included environmentally themed lessons for the
village's primary school students, who learnt all about the importance
of the wetland to their lives and those of the animals that rely upon
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