Vietnam is shifting towards the creation of environmentally sustainable urban areas, which play a crucial role in the nation’s economic development and contribute greatly to GDP growth.

This move comes at a time when numerous cities are struggling with environmental issues, such as air pollution, poor sewage management and a lack of green space, a seminar in Hanoi heard on September 9.

Issues such as green urban planning, and the management of waste and pollution produced by transport, industrial production, businesses and households, have yet been addressed properly or discussed by the public, experts said.

The Environment General Department under the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment issued a set of criteria to evaluate the level of environmental sustainability in Vietnamese cities, Deputy Minister Bui Cach Tuyen said.

The indicators facilitate the assessment and recognition of urban areas that prioritise environmental protection in line with the global trend towards sustainable cities.

The central city of Da Nang and the imperial city of Hue won the “ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City” Award in 2011 and 2014, respectively, thanks to their clean air, water and urban spaces as well as the municipalities’ efforts to improve and protect the environment.-VNA