HCM City buries much of all its solid waste instead of classifying and processing it, thus affecting the environment, and officials are calling for seeking investment from more sources and greater use of technology.

According to Vo Thanh Huynh Anh of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment, of the 72,000 tonnes of waste generated every day, around 60 percent are buried underground instead of being appropriately classified and treated.

It is done by the HCM City Ltd. One Member Urban Environment and Vietnam Waste Treatment Ltd. Company, both State-run utilities.

The rest is processed to make compost fertiliser by Vietstar, Tam Sinh Nghia, and Thanh Cong companies.

However, the compost plants are not operating efficiently, causing economic loss.

Dr Le Van Khoa of the HCM City Polytechnic University said the problem is that the city lacks technologies to classify waste before treatment.

Since 2004 the city has been running a pilot programme to classify solid wastes before treatment in Districts 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, Binh Thanh, Phu Nhuan, and Cu Chi and at wholesale markets.

But it has not proven effective since only 25 percent of the solid waste is classified before treatment.

The city lacks the funds required to invest in infrastructure for solid-waste classification systems and regulations for such classification.

According to Mushtaq Ahmed Memon of the United Nations Environment Programme's International Environment Technology Centre, in most developed countries domestic and industrial wastes are categorised carefully and treated or recycled depending on whether it is organic or inorganic.

Waste that cannot be recycled is incinerated at 950 – 1,000 degrees Celsius and the resultant ash buried safely.

Dr Khoa said the city should make environmental education mandatory to improve citizens' awareness of protecting the environment by treating waste properly.-VNA