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Officials Present Dire Environmental Indicators at Hanoi Summit on Air Pollution

Shocking information on the state of Vietnam's environment was presented at a seminar in Hanoi earlier this week.

AsiaOne reports that Do Manh Hung, vice chairman of the National Assembly Office, shared air quality figures and other environmental indicators at a conference co-sponsored by the German Hanns Seidel Foundation.

According to Hung, from 2011-2015 over 50% of monitored days in Vietnam showed poor air quality. The air pollution woes of major cities like Hanoi and Saigon are well-documented, but data also showed that villages which recycle waste, metals, paper, plastics and batteries have seen dust concentrations that are three to eight times above the allowed limit. 

Meanwhile, though national forest coverage has increased in recent years, the actual quality of these forests has declined, the news source reports. Tree coverage in urban areas is also dismal, with Hanoi and Saigon clocking green space per capita rates of below four square meters, far below the required 10-15 square meters.

Nguyen Hoang Duc, from the Department of Pollution Control under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, also admitted to seminar attendees that national environmental regulations are not fully followed, while waste handling methods are outdated, according to AsiaOne.

Duc explained that under current laws, prior notice must be given before environmental inspections, giving offenders time to make cosmetic changes to their operations and avoid penalties. 

German experts at the meeting shared research on air pollution in the European nation, along with international best practices regarding air quality management. The news site shares that they also pressed for the development of a separate law on air pollution control with precise regulations and accountability.

[Photo via VietnamNet]

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