Media Highlights

Vietnamese plea to Thailand: Don’t divert the Mekong

PEOPLE in Vietnam hope Thailand will reconsider its plan to divert water from the Mekong – because it would seriously affect their ability to produce food.

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Coal mine threat to Quang Ninh

Experts at a seminar here yesterday issued warnings about the uncontrolled exploitation of coal in Quang Ninh Province.

The seminar was held by the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) shortly after the heaviest rains in 40 years hit the province, causing flooding, landslides and toxic sludge spills from open-cut mines.

The torrential caused sludge to flow into local communities and into Ha Long Bay, creating immediate and ongoing health and environmental hazards.

Workers clean the environment after the recent flood in Quang Ninh Province. Experts issued warnings about the uncontrolled exploitation of coal in the province. (Photo: laodong.com.vn)

Workers clean the environment after the recent flood in Quang Ninh Province. Experts issued warnings about the uncontrolled exploitation of coal in the province. (Photo: laodong.com.vn)

Do Thanh Bai, a member of the Chemical Society of Viet Nam, said the over exploitation of coal had created big changes in the province’s geomorphology. He said this caused severe damage to the economy and to the environment.

“Water pollution has become alarming,” Bai said. “Coal contains a lot of sulphur, which quickly pollutes water. In some areas, it also contains acid and heavy metals such as lead, zinc and mercury.

“This dissolves in the water, polluting the waters of Ha Long Bay. Water pollution also degrades soil in the province.”

Dr. Dao Trong Tu, director of the Centre for Sustainable Development of Water Resources and Adaptation to Climate Change (CEWAREC), said the coal-run Mao Khe Thermal Power Plant had heavily polluted the Gao River and caused huge impacts in the communes of Trang An and Xuan Son in Dong Trieu district.

Dr Tu said authorities had not found a sustainable solution to deal with the pollution in the stream.

Most mines run by the Viet Nam Coal Corporation are open cuts, meaning they are open to the air.

Cam Pha city stores the biggest quantity of sludge from the mines, about 60 million to 70 million cubic metres per year.

Bai said that to protect the environment, residue should be klept in a separate area from homes.Trees should be planted in between to limit pollution instead of simply covering the residue with canvas, which showed negligence by the investor and local authorities.

Bai said when the area was hit by floods, sludge from the mines washed into the local communities. He said it was important that the province restructure deposits of coal residue. — VNS

Dao Trong Hung from the Viet Nam Academy of Science and Technology, said that coal residue at Hoa Khanh district was 300m high, adding that this posed a threat to Ha Long Bay.

He said it was that Ha Long Bay was surrounded by thousands of hectares of open-face coal mines and multiple coal-fired power plants.

“I am afraid for the biodiversity of the bay. The toxins in the water will destroy various kind of aquatic life”, said Hung.

“Until now, the management board of the bay has not found an efficient solution to eradicate pollution.”

Hung said open-cut mining should be reduced around the major cities of Ha Long, Dong Trieu, Uong Bi. — VNS

Source: Vietnamnews

Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance: Initiatives for Sustainable Natural Heritage Conservation

The first leaders’ meeting of the Ha Long – Cat Ba Alliance was recently held in Ha Long City, Quang Ninh Province, attended by leaders of Quang Ninh Province and Haiphong City, US Ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius, and senior officials from the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

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Mekong Governments, Civil Society Reach Agreement on Environmental Impact Assessment Agenda

In a ground-breaking agreement, government officials and civil society representatives from across the Mekong region established a working group to develop a regional public participation guideline for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) this week in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Australian support for agroforestry development in Viet Nam

The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research is working with ICRAF to test new agroforestry systems in Northwest Viet Nam, explains Nguyen Thi Thanh An.

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Biodiversity mainstreamed in environmental assessment

A workshop by the People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) in Hanoi on March 24 attracted nearly 60 representatives from the Vietnam Environment Administration, Vietnam Administration of Forestry and several national parks and non-governmental organizations. The theme of the meeting was mainstreaming biodiversity criteria in environmental impact assessments in Vietnam.

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After many years, Vietnam authority, investor still struggle to justify bauxite plants

The government has ordered the industry ministry and the Vietnam National Coal and Mining Industries Group (Vinacomin) to submit clarifications for questions raised by local scientists about the country’s first and only two bauxite refinery plants.

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Chinese technology may kill bauxite projects: scientists

The warning about losses that could be incurred by the two bauxite projects in the Central Highlands has become a reality. The Tan Rai bauxite project is predicted to take a loss of VND460 billion in the first three years of operation, while Nhan Co would incur a loss of VND3 trillion over six years.

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Tree-felling fiasco: symptom of a deep-rooted problem

To wake up one day and see hundreds of the trees they take for granted cut down was an earth-shaking experience for the people. The real horror dawned on them as they realised as many as 6,700 trees had been lined up for this apparently senseless execution.

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Ministries hinder ‘green’ campaign

Lack of co-operation at ministry level is hindering the implementation of last year’s Law on Environment Protection.

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