Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc chairs the meeting on coastal erosion and sediment deposition at river mouths in central coastal provinces on November 7 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has once again emphasised the importance of protecting the marine environment while chairing a meeting on coastal erosion and sediment deposition at river mouths in central coastal provinces from Nghe An to Binh Thuan.

The event, which was held in Hanoi on November 7, saw the presence of officials from several relevant ministries and sectors, as well as leaders of the central provinces. It was the third meeting on the issue that the PM has chaired so far, following those with northern and southern provinces.

There are 13 provinces and cities in the coastal central region from Nghe An to Binh Thuan. They have a coast that is 1,649km long and a dense river network with 48 river mouths flowing into the East Sea, equivalent to one river mouth per 34km of coast, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

In recent years, coastal erosion and sediment deposition at river mouths have become increasingly complex and severe.

The ministry noted that the provinces hardest hit by erosion are Nghe An, Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Phu Yen, Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan. Some of the hot spots for this phenomenon are along the coasts of Vinh Hai commune (Phu Loc district, Thua Thien-Hue), Cua Dai (Hoi An city, Quang Nam), and Ro hamlet and An Phu commune (Tuy Hoa city, Phu Yen).

Localities reported that there are still 88 erosion sites with total length of over 120km along the central coast. Quang Ngai has the highest amount of these sites with 21 in total, with the total length of some 35km.

A coastal embankment in Dong Hai ward of Phan Rang - Thap Cham city, Ninh Thuan province, is damaged as a result of coast erosion (Photo: VNA)

Meanwhile, sediment deposition is also getting worse, especially at river mouths of Cua Lach Van and Cua Lach Con (Nghe An), Cua Sot (Ha Tinh), Nhat Le (Quang Binh), Cua Dai (Quang Ngai), Cua Tam Quan, and Cua An Du (Binh Dinh).

Such deposition has affected not only floodwater recession, waterway transport, public infrastructure, environment, and tourism activities but also the daily life and economic activities of local residents. Some boats have been stranded or wrecked in these areas, even causing deaths, the MARD added.

At the meeting, PM Phuc requested immediate actions to not “let the grass grow under their feet”, stressing that the central strip is narrow, so encroaching on the sea and keeping land is very important.

According to the government leader, many other countries have tapped into their sea-related advantages to develop. Vietnam has also had a marine strategy until 2020, and all coastal provinces have grown well, and 60 percent of the country’s GDP comes from these localities.

Therefore, protecting the marine environment is of critical importance, he said.

He demanded that localities strictly manage the money invested in anti-erosion projects, asking the MARD to have an overall assessment of the erosion situation and devise solutions associated with socio-economic development.

Meanwhile, localities need to boost their communications to raise public awareness and encourage people’s active moves to adapt to, prevent and deal with environmental problems, the PM said.

PM Phuc also asked for the promotion of the private sector’s engagement in handling coast erosion and sediment deposition at river mouths, including mobilising international resources and ODA loans, as well as the application of scientific and technological advances in the work.–VNA