Scientists from the Asia-Pacific region gathered at a seminar in Hanoi on September 10 to discuss measures to increase the regional mercury monitoring network.

The workshop was organised by the Vietnam Environmental Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE) in collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Taiwan Environmental Protection Administration.

It offered a good chance for Vietnamese and international experts to share information on programmes monitoring atmospheric mercury contamination, review the development of mercury controlling capacity in Asia-Pacific as well as develop plans for the regional network.

Addressing the event, MoNRE Deputy Minister Bui Cach Tuyen said that Vietnam is facing mercury pollution in air, water and trans-border resources, posing a challenge to the monitoring and controlling of the problem.

Mercury has been monitored in Vietnam since 1994. However, the issue has not yet received full attention, apart from a small number of specialised programmes and research studies on controlling mercury dispersion in the environment.

At present, Vietnam is developing a network to monitor and control mercury pollution in water, he said, adding that the country has been invited to join the Asia-Pacific Mercury Monitoring Network.

Tuyen stated that the country is committed to increasing its mercury controlling capacity, as demonstrated by its participation in the Minamata Convention on Mercury in October 2013.

It also expects to have more legal tools to effectively address mercury pollution in the air in the near future, he further said.-VNA