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Hanoi Aims to End Burning of Straw in 2021 to Reduce Pollution

The burning of straw and other agricultural byproducts is a perennial problem for the capital's air quality.

VnExpress reports that a new directive from the Hanoi People's Committee has outlined a number of initiatives aimed at ultimately ending the practice of burning straw and various types of waste.

It calls on local authorities to improve the monitoring of waste burning and properly punish people who do so illegally, while also collecting and processing waste according to current regulations.

By the end of this month, officials are expected to let residents know that the city government plans to collect, transport and process straw, plant byproducts, and other waste in the near future. And, by the end of this year, residents need to receive support to take up more environmentally friendly ways of disposing of waste and clearing fields.

Finally, next year, such burning would stop, while all relevant material would be collected and processed. Exact details on how all of these would be achieved are to be worked out, as directives simply task government agencies with formulating more detailed plans and policies.

For decades, farmers in Hanoi's rural outskirts have burned straw after harvesting their rice in late September and early October to get rid of waste and fertilize their fields for future harvests. The municipal Department of Natural Resources and the Environment estimates that 300,000 tons of straw are burned each year, reducing Hanoi's air quality and also causing problems for pilots flying into and out of Noi Bai International Airport.

[Photo via VietnamNet]