By 2015, Vietnam will produce 44 million tonnes of solid waste per year, which causes water, air and land pollution and threatens community health.

The figure was released by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in a report on preparations for a “National target programme to handle and improve environmental pollution during the 2011-2015 period”.

The ministry forecast that the figure will increase to 68 million tonnes in 2020 and 91 million tonnes in 2025, 2-3 times higher than current figures.

Only 70 percent of solid waste is collected in urban areas and the remaining waste is affecting urban landscapes, taking up large areas of land and cannot be recycled, the ministry said.

According to statistics collected in 2008 alone, the country produced a total of 28 million tonnes of solid waste, which was mainly buried at waste disposal sites. Meanwhile, each urban area in Vietnam has only one or two waste dumps and 85 percent of urban areas apply waste disposal measures that fail to meet hygienic standards.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen underlined the need to focus on financial sources for treating pollution and rehabilitating the environment in areas that are poisoned by unhygienic waste dumps.

Tuyen also proposed building a treatment centre for hazardous waste as a measure to improve the environment in seriously polluted areas as part of the national programme./.