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Young Vietnamese Environmental Volunteers Hit Hanoi’s Streets on World Environmental Day

MDG Campaign in HanoiHanoi. June 5th, 20005 – Young Vietnamese Environmental Volunteers carry out campaigns on the World Environmental Day to promote the Millenium Development Goals. Vietnam has adopted and committed to push the country toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. However, MDGs still seem to be quite alien to the public, especially young people – the future generation of the country. On World Environment Day this year, youth volunteer groups in major cities throughout the country carry out campaign activities to promote one of the MDGs: Environmental Sustainability Goal (so-called MDG7). The theme of the World Environment Day 2005 selected by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) is”Green cities: Plan for Our Planet” and San Fransico, California, US has been appointed to be the place for main international celebrations. In Vietnam, Buon Ma Thuot City (Daklak province) was selected for celebrating activities organized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. In Hanoi, Danang, Ho Chi Minh City, and some other cities, youth volunteer and student groups also organize different activities to celebrate the World Environment Day. Urban environment and MDG7 are the major focus of these activities. “Hanoi and MDG7 – Environmental Sustainability” was chosen as the topic of the campaign in the capital city. In recent years, Vietnam has witnessed the booming growth of urban infrastructure and constructions. At present, there are 572 urban centers throughout the country, accomodating approximately 20% of the population. According to some estimation, by 2024, Vietnam’s population will reach 100 million, 40 percent of which will live in urban areas. While urbanization is growing rapidly, environmental planning and greening solutions have not been well in place. The percentage of tree coverage in urban areas is still low, only 0.5 m2/person on average (1). Green belts of trees – the lung of cities are not yet paid enough attention in urban planning. Other environmental problems such as air pollution, waste generation, and noise pollution are increasingly becoming major challenges to the sustainable development goals. Hanoi with population of over 3 million, of which 1.8 million people are living urban neighbourhood, is also facing significant environmental problems. Everyday, Hanoi’s dwellers generate about 2,000 tons of living waste while the collecting and processing capacity is around 1,600 to 1,900 tons(2). It is estimated that by 2005, the capital city will produce over 850,000 tons of waste in annual total. Although the city government has tried to improve their waste collection and treatment capacity, Hanoi’s streets are still not cleaner due to notorious littering practice of its people. During recent ten years, 21 lakes in Hanoi have disappeared and more than 150 hectares of lake surface were encroached by dumping of litters, soil and construction waste.(3). Together with the development of infrastructure and transportation systems, dust pollution is also posing serious threats to public health. In high traffic areas, the concentration of dust exceeds from two to four times of the national environmental standards (4). Particularly at constructing and building sites, dust concentration is even 5 times higher than the permitted standards. Solving environmental problems is not simply the work of government’s agencies. Participation of the public, particularly the youth force, plays an important role in minimizing environmental pollution. In recent years, there have been many young volunteer groups sharing special interest in environmental issues. They focus their activities on sharing environmental knowledge, calling for more public attention, and encouraging people to join environmental protection activities. In the World Environment Day this year, a joint forum of Vietnamese young volunteer groups in Hanoi (mainly Youth Volunteer Club, Green Knowledge Club, and Speak Up for 2015 Group) organize a campaign titled “Hanoi and MDG 7 – Environmental Sustainability”. With activities targeted at issues related to daily life, this campaign aims at providing more information about the Environment Sustainability Goal to Hanoi people. With the slogan “Clean Street, Green Environment”, an MDG7 journey cycling around Hanoi and a walk for Hanoi – 995 Year Thang Long Environment, volunteers participating in the campaign want to call for a greener, cleaner and more beautiful capital city. In addition to Hanoi’s campaign, young volunteer groups in Danang and Ho Chi Minh City also have special programmes to celebrate the World Environment Day, turning June 5th a special day for Vietnamese environmental volunteer movement. The campaign “Hanoi and MDG 7 – Environmental Sustainability” is sponsored by the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPA) and the Vietnam’s Forum for Environmental Journalists (VFEJ), funded by UN Volunteer Organization (UNV), and technically supported by People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature). For more information on the program “Hanoi with MDG 7 – Environment Sustainability”, please contact: Ms. Nguyen Hong Nhung Tel: ++ 84 91 357 4313 or ++84 4 862 4434 Email:

(1). According to statistics of National Environmental Protection Agency, Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment. (2). Source: Vietnam Televison. (3). Source: CIRENET network. (4). Source: New Hanoi newspaper.

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