The Hanoi People’s Council has asked the Hanoi People’s Committee to promptly develop a master plan to protect the city’s environment.

The announcement was made at a working session on April 8. Vice Chairman of the Hanoi People’s Council Le Quang Nhue said the plan would focus on building a new waste-treatment network to supplement the existing treatment facility in Cau Giay districit.

It would also ban the importation of inefficient and low-quality waste-treatment facilities and also concentrate on improving the professional skills of environmental management staff. The instruction came after a mission from the municipal People’s Council checked environmental pollution throughout Hanoi and found that nearly 100 percent of waste water from households and businesses was discharged without treatment.

The operation of waste-treatment facilities at some industrial complexes had also proved ineffective.

The mission reported that air quality in Hanoi had shown signs of degradation, particularly in the inner city and that rivers and lakes in the city were seriously polluted.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Vu Hong Khanh admitted that untreated industrial and household waste water, as well as untreated waste water from hospitals and craft villages were responsible for most of the environmental damage.

The municipal natural resources and environmental department reported that only eight out of 48 hospitals and health-care centres in the city had waste-treatment facilities.

Nhue said at present the city was capable of collecting and treating only 85 to 90 percent of industrial waste and 60 percent of waste known to be harmful.

Khanh said a lack of guidance from ministries and agencies and development plans that did not incorporate environmental protection made the problem worse.

Inspection activities and punishment for establishments that caused environmental protection had been ineffective, he admitted.

“To solve environmental problems in the city, the municipal People’s Committee will initially focus on improving the quality of water in lakes and rivers on a trial basis until October,” Khanh said.

“It will also build small-scale waste-treatment facilities in communes and small-villages, as well as building a waste-treatment model for seriously polluted craft villages.”

The People’s Committee proposed the People’s Council increase capital for environmental protection projects.

“We also need to promptly undertake environmental planning as well as build stricter mechanism to handle violators,” Nhue said.

“The municipal People’s Council and Committee are willing to earmark capital for environmental-pollution treatment projects and support industrial zones to build waste-treatment facilities.”-Enditem