Environment ministry moves from passive to proactive role in handling environmental issues hinh anh 1Vietnam has enhanced water management in the Mekong River basin. (Photo: VNA) 

Hanoi (VNA) - The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has changed from a passive to a proactive role in handling environmental issues over the last several years, after the country confronted major challenges brought about by an unsustainable economic growth model and climate change.

In an interview granted to the media regarding the ministry’s endeavours in previous years and how it will head into the future, Minister Tran Hong Ha said it has proposed that the Party, National Assembly (NA), and Government review and fix shortcomings in the State management of natural resources, while itself developing key policies on the environment and natural resources, most notably the 2020 revised Law on Environmental Protection.

Natural resources have been better managed and used more efficiently, with tighter control over illegal mineral exploitation and environmentally-damaging practices in exploitation, Ha said.

He noted that the collection of land use fees for the State budget last year was 33 percent higher than expected, while revenue from mineral exploitation was 12 percent higher than the annual plan. Tougher actions have been taken to ensure the sustainable use of water resources and water security.

The ministry has actively proposed a number of policies to respond to climate change and systematically enforced these with strategic visions, he said, adding that it has also worked to modernise hydrometeorological forecasting and improve forecasting quality.

It has outlined 17 high-risk types of industrial production likely to have adverse impacts on the environment and which require close supervision and inspection. He emphasised the need to enhance information transparency so that people can participate in the process of environmental monitoring when a project is implemented.

The environmental aspect must be taken into account in developing the economy, he said, and economic costs must include costs for environmental protection.

Environment ministry moves from passive to proactive role in handling environmental issues hinh anh 2Emissions from plants are often blamed as a major source of air pollution. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam’s economy needs to transform from a “brown economy”, in which economic growth is largely dependent on environmentally-destructive activities, especially the consumption of fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas, to a “green economy” that involves the significant use of environmentally-friendly materials. “[We] must maintain a green living space for people,” he said.

He also has high hopes for the digital economy, which he said is the engine and solution for future development. The growth of the digital economy and digital society will not only help lessen the burden on the environment but also create jobs and higher value in addressing environmental problems and expanding forest coverage, he said.

This year, the ministry aims to have 90 percent of urban solid waste collected and treated under guaranteed standards, 92 percent of industrial parks and export processing zones owning water treatment systems, 100 percent of businesses causing pollution punished, and the effective and sustainable use of natural resources contribute 11 percent to State budget revenue./.