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Unchecked Pollution is Threatening Southeast Asia's Environment, Economies

Like much of Southeast Asia, Vietnam is a very different place today than it was in 1990. New economic policies, increased development and modernization have transformed the country in many ways, but this rapid progress may come at a steep price.

Between 1990 and 2010, carbon dioxide emissions in Southeast Asia rose 227%, more than any other part of the world, reports Bloomberg. As Southeast Asian economies are seeing fantastic growth, so are their pollution levels. While South Asia as a whole increased its emissions by 181%, our particular corner of the world is becoming a significant contributor to Earth's pollution woes.

As you might expect, there is a price to pay for the unchecked development that has boosted the economies of many nations in the region. Should this continue without Southeast Asian countries taking action to combat its effects, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns that pollution could trigger floods, water shortages and economic losses – the ultimate penalty for business-conscious countries like Vietnam. In fact, ADB estimates that economic losses from climate change could reduce Southeast Asia's regional GDP by as much as 11% by 2100.

“The region has experienced rapid economic growth in recent years, and regional greenhouse gas emissions have rapidly increased, at nearly 5% per year over the last two decades,” said the ADB last week. “In the absence of climate action, the region will be increasingly exposed to hotter temperatures, more destructive storms, greater flooding in some areas and more droughts in others.”

With Vietnam alone facing some serious consequences as a result of climate change – the Mekong Delta could soon be underwater – it's high time Southeast Asia dealt with its pollution issues head-on.

[Photo via leniners]

Related Articles:

Climate Change Will Put 'Many' Vietnamese Cities Underwater: Official

What the COP21 Climate Change Deal Will Mean in Vietnam

40% of the Mekong Delta Could Disappear by 2115

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