Hanoi is intensifying its waste management efforts, particularly in the rural areas, said Pham Van Khanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Q: Hanoi has done quite well with waste treatment in the inner city, but in the outlying districts some problems still exist. In your opinion, what are the bottlenecks there?

A: Proper waste treatment is a very important factor in environmental protection.

We have paid special attention to garbage collection and treatment to make the city green, clean, and beautiful. Since 2010, the city authority has adopted a policy to support each commune in the outlying district with 200 million VND (10,000 USD) to build a waste collection point.

By now, several districts, including Dong Anh, Chuong My and Phuc Tho, have implemented the programme well. Some districts have even used their own capital resources to build more waste collection points. Our target is to have more than 87 percent of the waste collected per day. However, the My Duc district has surpassed the target and is able to collect 94 per cent of its waste generated every day.

We have divided the waste collection and transportation process into two routes. In route 1, the waste is collected from households and then transported to the collection points. All activities in this route are directly managed by the communal People's Committees.

In Highway 2, the waste is then taken from the collection points and transported to waste treatment plants, which are operated by hygienic environmental units, who work on a contractual basis with the district People's Committees.

If in 2011, the percentage of waste collected and treated in all outlying districts was 77.48 percent, the figure has now increased to 85 percent.

Q: Does Hanoi have any measures to cope with the rapid increase in the volume of waste generated in the city?

A: In January this year, the Hanoi People's Committee issued an instruction clearly stating that the district People's Committees have to shoulder the responsibility of treating the waste generated in their localities with financial assistance from the municipal People's Committee.

However, the document also elucidates that the waste treatment technique must ensure absolute hygiene and should be in line with the environmental law.

More recently, our department has supported some districts in designing proper landfills.

We also take a firm stand toward those landfills, which are already full or fail to meet the hygiene requirements, and force them to close down.

The city has ordered industrial parks to adopt a road map for waste dumping with stringent control and they should adhere to the hygiene and technological requirements.

Currently, Hanoi has several waste incinerators that are developed by Vietnamese engineers. One of them is the Xuan Son project, in Son Tay town (some 40 kilometres west of the city's centre). The project has four incinerators, and each has a capacity of 200-250 tonnes.

In December 2013, Hanoi launched the "solid waste treatment cum energy generation" project with funding from Japan. The plant has a capacity of 75 tonnes per day. As of now, 95 percent of the equipment has been imported.

The plant is expected to be commissioned by April, next year.

Q: Waste treatment technology is always expensive and requires a lot of investment. Has Hanoi thought about any measures?

A: To ensure safety in waste treatment, the Hanoi People's Committee has overhauled its efforts to complete and commission the 2nd phase on the expansion of the Nam Son landfill in Soc Son district (74 hectares) and Xuan Son in Son Tay town (5.6 hectares).

In addition, we have completed the technical infrastructure construction of a solid waste treatment complex at the city level, in Dong Ke village, Tran Phu commune, Chuong My district.We are now seeking different stakeholders to invest and then operate the complex.

The city authority has adopted the policy of private-public partnership in investing to build waste treatment plants or landfills. The authorities have also requested each district to reserve between 1.5 to 3 hectares of land to build a landfill in their district.

In this way, all the waste can be treated in their localities instead of transporting it to somewhere else. An example of such a case is the ongoing construction of the household waste treatment plant at the Nam Son complex by the AIC joint stock company (in the 2nd phase).

The plant is designed to have a capacity of 2,000 tonnes of household waste per day.

I am confident that from 2015 to 2020, about 50 percent of the city's waste will be treated with advanced technology.-VNA