A conference was held on January 23 to discuss the role of the media in monitoring and detecting water pollution, advocating responsive policies, and calling for the stronger community engagement in managing water pollution.

Media involvement is considered important in preventing water pollution as it comprehensively and accurately reports related issues, agreed participants at the event, jointly conducted by the Centre for Environmental and Community Research (CECR) and the Coalition to Advocate for Water Pollution Control and the Clean Water Act.

They highlighted that the media also points out shortcomings in initiatives and collects ideas on possible solutions.

Over the past years, media agencies have brought to light many culprits of water pollution and helped raise public awareness of protecting the environment, they said.

CECR Director Nguyen Ngoc Ly called for further media contributions to counteracting water pollution, especially in lobbying for a law on water pollution management which the Coalition for Clean Water will put forth in 2015.

Participants at the event also reviewed the current status of water pollution in Vietnam, as well as responding measures taken by the country, including the design of a number of regulations and laws.

Vietnam has a large area of inland water surface with about 2,360 rivers and streams, and thousands of lakes and ponds.

However, the country has faced serious water pollution due to economic activities from industrial parks, and trade villages, especially in urban areas.

According to the 2012 national environmental report, about 6 million individuals have been affected by diseases related to water pollution in the past four years, costing the country about 400 billion VND (19 million USD). It continued, estimating resulting damage to the agriculture and aquaculture sectors to reach hundreds of billions of dong each year.-VNA