Solid waste continues to increase rapidly throughout the country, and is expected to reach a high rate of 44 million tonnes annually, starting this year, a report from the Centre for Environmental Monitoring Portal (CEM) has warned.

According to the report, which was issued late last week, accelerating industrialisation and urbanisation, along with a population explosion, are the major causes for this surge.

The CEM, under the Vietnam Environment Administration, stressed that solid waste from big cities and industrial zones stood at the highest level, some 50.8 tonnes, or 22.1 percent of the country's total.

Unless adequate measures and legislation are put in place to control this, solid waste will continue to build at an alarming rate, the report pointed out, appealing to environmental authorities to further strengthen their activities and focus more on management.

As part of the Government's solid waste management programme, 54 provinces have developed their own plans to manage solid waste by the end of 2014, initial data from the centre revealed.

Also, concrete steps to plan the transfer of solid waste, as well as to collect and treat it, have been clarified in local rural development plans.

These were very progressive steps to help boost national solid waste management and investment programme, according to the CEM.

Moreover, the portal noted that two-thirds of a master plan for solid waste management across the three rivers of Cau, Dong Nai and Nhue-Day has been approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.

This plan for solid waste management in vital economic zones in the north – research for which is nearly complete – is expected to be approved by the prime minister by the end of this year.

Also, the CEM report offered an analysis on the process of involving social investments in solid waste treatment in the past few years.

The report noted that reforms have constantly been strengthened, which served to boost active competition among investors.

Vietnamese people in urban areas account for about 35 percent of the total population, and are responsible for the discharge of some 32,000 tonnes of solid waste into the environment per day, the report said.

This has forced city authorities to pay more attention to the protection of the environment, particularly to solid waste collection and treatment.

Last year alone, about 84.5 percent of solid waste had been treated, marking an increase of 3 percent, as compared to 2010. It also met the target set in the national strategy for 2025, and onwards towards 2050.

Furthermore, 26 solid waste disposal factories, on a total area of 342ha and with a capacity of 6,015 tonnes per day, were set up in the last five years.

Expenditure for the treatment of solid waste is partly paid by the Government. Currently, it provides support of between 240,000 VND and 400,000 VND (roughly 11 USD to 18 USD) per tonne for waste treatment.

Financial support has also been received from the urban hygiene fund.

Private investment has reportedly increased in the last few years, accounting for and 2.4 trillion VND (114.2 million USD) or 55 percent of the total funding.

While some 60 to 80 percent of the solid waste collection activities focus on urban areas, only low-capacity workshops owned by small private investors to take part in these efforts in rural areas.-VNA