Environmental experts and scientists discussed the establishment of a set of appropriate criteria to evaluate the environmental sustainability of Vietnamese cities at a conference in Hanoi on November 21.

Urbanisation in Vietnam is moving rather fast, said Nguyen The Dong, Deputy Director General of the Vietnam Environment Administration under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), adding that cities play a crucial role in the country’s process of economic development and contribute greatly to GDP growth.

Dong noted that many cities are facing serious environmental degradation in green space and biodiversity, caused by a fast-growing population, migration from rural to urban areas and the extensive construction and upgrade of facilities.

Urban planning in Vietnamese cities is not yet coupled with environmental factors, including solid wastes, wastewater, and air pollution from industrial and transport activities.

Thus, the set of criteria looks to build up environmentally sustainable urban areas and cities and keep up with the development trend of cities around the world, also serving as an efficient instrument to assess the sustainable level of Vietnamese cities and the challenges they are facing.

According to the MoNRE Institute for Science of Environmental Management, the set includes six groups of criteria related to water, air, solid wastes, green space, the effective use of energy including new and renewable energy, and transportation.

The criteria also help urban managers clarify priority issues and prepare action plans to balance the aforesaid environmental factors in line with the process of development.

At the conference, the majority of participants agreed with the set of criteria and also put forth additional suggestions related to the establishment of separate criteria for each city.-VNA