Illustrative image (Source: baotainguyenmoitruong.vn)
HCM City (VNA) - Achieving growth while also safeguarding the environment is a challenge that Ho Chi Minh City faces, experts admitted at a recent conference on green growth held in the city.

Nguyen Thị Thanh My, deputy director of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said since the city plays a key role in the economic development of the southern region, its desire for economic growth is reasonable.

But it must focus on green development, which needs co-operation between society, authorities, enterprises and consumers, she said.

Le Van Khoa of HCM City’s University of Technologies said non-sustainable production and consumption in developed countries had had serious consequences for the environment, and that was why they are making efforts to achieve green development.

Many companies do not bother with waste treatment and fail to invest in modern technologies and materials that are friendly to the environment.

All 14 processing and industrial zones in HCM City have invested in wastewater treatment, but a closer examination found that the treatment at some zones failed to meet standards.

Besides, many plants in these zones emit waste, harmful particles and bad odours, he said, with 35 percent of all enterprises violating wastewater and particle emission regulations.

He blamed the problem on the low awareness of the companies’ bosses and their resultant ignorance about environmental protection.

Moreover, since green development was expensive, not all companies can afford it, he admitted.

Nguyen Van Minh, director of the green development at the Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), said since it began investing in sustainable development, the company’s costs have increased by 30 percent.

But it is inescapable since Vietnam has become a member of many free trade agreements and pledged to protect the environment, which would help Vietnamese products enter the international market, he said.

At the conference, the department introduced the city’s environment protection foundation, which offers companies credit at preferential rates to invest in green growth.-VNA