Several German specialists and government officials gathered in Hanoi on June 24-26 for a workshop on improving public awareness of environmental protection.

The workshop called “Environment and the Hanoians” was jointly organised by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), the Centre for Environmental Education and Communications and Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (RLS), a German non-governmental organisation.
The participants at the workshop agreed that the whole political system and social organisations need to get involved in promoting awareness amongst the people as it is essential for addressing Hanoi ’s environmental issues.

Pham Van Khanh, Deputy Head of Hanoi ’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the city’s authorities will increase inspections to unearth violations and tighten sanctions against the perpetrators. They will also provide financial support or subsidies for the collection, transportation and treatment of solid waste and sewage as well as planting trees.

Khanh said that environmental pollution in Hanoi is rising and the amount of breaches of the law has become much more serious.

MoNRE’s report shows that around 5,000 tonnes of solid waste and more than 120,000 m3 of industrial waste water are discharged everyday in Hanoi . The city’s surface and underground water networks have also become seriously polluted and city dwellers also suffer from noise pollution, dust and exhaust fumes.

Dorit Lehrak, RLS’s Director in Vietnam , said that local environmental issues are also a challenge to almost every other developing country in Asia .

She said it took Germany almost 30 years to re-establish a balance between economic development and environmental protection, and the key answer to the success is a coordinated effort by state agencies and the public./.