Environment Impacts in Vietnam - Dân Làm Báo

Environment Impacts in Vietnam

Mai Thanh Truyet, Ph.D. (Danlambao) - Vietnam started to open its door to the world for trade and investment since 1986, ten years after the failure of its economy’s development. The purpose of this openness is trying to save the country from the edge of the collapse of its economy and finance.

After almost a quart-century of development and ignoring the environmental protection, Vietnam became the one of the most polluted countries in the world.

Ironically, the main victims of this unsustainable development are its own people.

They do not have the clean air to breath, the clean water for daily activities, the safe foods to eat, and other social welfare benefits for human beings in the 21th century.

This presentation intentionally introduces to the world the realistic situation of Vietnam that is currently governed and managed by the communist party to our beloved country. 

1- Mekong River

The Mekong River, known as Mother Khong, splits into two branches when flowing into the Delta in South Vietnam. Those braches then are divided into nine smaller branches upon reaching the sea. The Mekong River ranks eleventh in length in the world and second for its diversity in shape.

In 2010, these two areas are at risk for the depleted fish stocks and the decreasing river flow due to the indiscriminate development in the upstream countries such as China, Thailand, and Laos through the compartment block leading the source of river flow to hydroelectric dams, and for agriculture purposes.

The Mekong River that flows through China is called Lancang on which two large dams are under constructions: the Xiaowan (4200 MW) is expected to be completed in 2013, and the Noozhadu (582 MW) will be completed in 2017. The three dams currently in use are the Manwan (1996) producing 1500 MW, the Dachaosan (2003), 1350 MW, and the Gonguoqiao (2008), 75 MW. In the fall of 2010, the Jinghong dam, 1750 MW, will begin to move water into the reservoirs.

Another tributary flowing into the territory of Thailand is called Mae Nam Khong where water is channeled into reservoirs in Northern Thailand and would be used for the vast agricultural region.

Laos is the country that does not have a large demand for electrical power but still has two dams built by Vietnam and Thailand to provide power for these two countries.

Forests are the major natural vegetation that is very effective in regulating the flow of the Mekong River, especially during summer seasons. Tree roots and soil absorb and retain water during the rainy seasons, and will regulate and supply water to downstream to prevent saltwater intrusion into the Mekong Delta. It is a privilege of nature. But for decades, humans continue to destroy forests to the point that the Delta is suffering the consequences of the annual invasion of saltwater, and cause serious damage to hundreds of thousands of rice samples according to the statistics in April 2010, although the maximum height of the dry seasons supposes to be in late May.

Vietnam makes a serious mistake in building levees to retain water over the rice cultivation area with the slogan of turning “stone into rice”. On the contrary, that naïve and unscientific effort resulted in the destruction of the rice crop by the flood or the long dry seasons.

In summary, most of the disasters to the environment and to human life are caused by humans themselves through ignorance and arrogance, too. So, don’t blame Mother Nature.

2- Arsenic Pollution

In 1961, the pollution of arsenic was first discovered in Taiwan, and later in Belgium, Netherland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Portugal, The Philippines, Ghana, USA, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, and Thailand.

In 1992, the toxicity of arsenic was found as a disaster in West Bengal, India. Recently, the problem of arsenic in Bangladesh has been more serious and affected more than 23 million people in 1997, and the number rose to almost 60 million in 2005.

Where does arsenic come from?

Scientists conclude that the deposition of the arsenopyrite deep in the ground for millions of years has been carried deep into the underground water and the river sources.

In industry, arsenic is used as an alloy with other metals such as iron, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, and cobalt. It is also used as an anti-bacterial solution to treat wood used as electrical poles. Pure arsenic is not toxic, but when it is combined with other chemical compounds to form arsenite (As3+) and arsenate (As5+), it becomes very dangerous.

Human absorption of arsenic usually takes place through water and foods. The deadly human disease is caused by the intake of animal meat, shrimps, and fish living in an environment contaminated with arsenic. Porcelain cooking ware fabricated in China may also cause disease due to the presence of arsenic. The people in Bangladesh who have been used the water from the wells built by UNICEF for a quarter of a century, still do not know the disastrous presence of arsenic in the well water.

Until 1988, The National Arsenic Committee in Bangladesh was established in order to solve the problems involving more than 4000 affected villages. Even this country has the support of UNICEF, UNDP, UNEP, and WB, the arsenic problems still remain a calamity of the world nowadays.

The perspective of the pollution of arsenic in the water in Vietnam, particular at the Mekong Delta, has been a reality. The present problem is to look for ways to save the innocent Vietnamese from the danger which may affect millions of people as it has happened in Bangladesh.

Traditionally, the Vietnamese people living in the Mekong Delta have been using rainwater for drinking and surface water for other daily usages. They also use borax to treat arsenic presence in the sitly water. However, since 1980’s, in order to prevent cholera, dysentery and otherinfectious diseases in digestive tube caused by the infected surface water, UNICEF supported and encouraged the drilling of over 300000 wells in the whole area of Mekong Delta. Here comes the disaster as Bangladesh’s drama is taking place in Vietnam.

In order to avoid the problems, Bangladesh has experienced for decades, Vietnam has better keep their traditional way of treating arsenic with borax and boil rainwater before drinking. However, it would be better if the residents could afford to use modern technology such as the ultraviolet system of sterilization to treat potable water.

It is time for the UNICEF to reconsider their present policy of drilling wells for a better and safer ways for Vietnam and other poor countries in the future.

3- Rivers in Vietnam

For the past 25 years, Vietnam has opened its door in an attempt to expedite its economic development by building over 220 industrial zones and hundred thousand chemical factories in the whole country.

The fast and the unprepared expansion have caused serious problems deriving from the free dumping of untreated liquid waste into the rivers which become heavily polluted. The disastrous pollution increases enormously with the time and so far there is no foreseeable ways efficient enough to deal with the present situation.

River Cau Basin: This area that covers 10 thousand Km2 with a population of 7 million inhabitants has been totally polluted. Approximately 40 million cubic meters of chemical waste is dumped into the river each year. Thai Nguyen is the dumping area of about 24 million cubic meters of various toxic metals like selenium, manganese, lead, tin, mercury, and other organic compounds such as insecticides.

River Nhue Basin: The basin of 7700 Km2 has 10 million inhabitants. It is one of the highest population density in the country. All liquid waste coming from households and manufacturing compounds have been dumped into the rivers and lakes. It is estimated that about 180 million cubic meters have been disposed of the year 2007. Ha Noi alone has more than 400 firms and about 11000 handicraft producers that also produce about 20 million cubic meters of waste yearly.

Dong Nai and Saigon River basin: This area covers 14500 Km2 which a population of 18,5 million. It is the largest manufacturing region and also the most urbanized one. Each year, these rivers receive about 40 million cubic meters of liquid waste disposed of by its industrial zones and an estimated million cubic from about 30 thousand small chemicals manufacturers situated around Saigon, Song Be, and Dong Nai cities. In addition, they also receive about 400 millions household liquid waste per year.

Tien Giang and Hau Giang River Basin: This is the largest area covering 39 thousand Km2 with about 30 million inhabitants. As the Tien and Hau Giang basin have different natural resources from the previous regions, the economic development of this area relies mainly on agriculture and fishery instead. So, the pollution in this region is different from the others. It derives from the excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides containing DDT and others toxic chemicals that cause cancer.

In conclusion, it is clearly understood that the economic development in Vietnam does not go along with the protection of the environment and that as the condition of the healthful environment goes down, the level of pollution goes up.

In order to correct this situation, there must be a thorough and cautious redevelopment plan in which the industrial and manufacturing compounds should be appropriately relocated in order to alleviate the pressure over the existing overcrowded areas. It is important that serious manufacturing compounds should be distributed and placed in such a way that every component could make use of the products as well as the waste of each other.

That is the efficient way of planning for a realistic concept of industrial development zones in balance with the protection of the environment.

4- Pollution of Underground water

Water is the most vital resource for humans, animals, and vegetation. In September, 1999 the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that water is diminishing in the world.

Pollution of the surface water: The distribution of the water resource in the world is uneven, partly by the geographical conditions and the social development of each country. The daily consumption of water in the United States is 185 Gallons per day per person, compared to 1 Gallon in Africa, and 36 Gallons in Saigon, Vietnam. In the developing countries with over 1.2 billion who could not have clean water, and over 50% of people living in swampy areas are not healthy because of the increasing scarcity of water.

The rising of the world population leads to growing needs of water consumption. It is predicted that, in 2025, there will be 52 countries facing the shortage of water. If there is no measure in place to recycle the used water at the present time, clean water will become as precious as liquid gold in 25 years from now.

For the past decade in Saigon, many households have to resort to underground water by pumping from the wells because the water supply by the water companies is not sufficient and not safe. However, the underground water is not tested for its purity and is dangerous because it may be contaminated with organic compounds and various toxic metals coming from the abuse of fertilizers, insecticides, and pesticides for crop protection.

In conclusion, the use of the underground water in Vietnam should be limited, particularly in the areas of high elevation. The use of the underground water to foster the development of land and sea farming for the social benefit of raising the standard of living of the people is not right and not compatible with the durable trend of the global development through Resolution-21 of the United Nations. That is to expand the economy, to promote the protection of the environment, and to raise the welfare of the people simultaneously.

5- Pollution of the Land

The term “environment” was still vague in the world community years before until 1970’s when the pollution has become more and more serious. The US took the lead in establishing the rules to protect the environment.

However, these rules were so loose in the developing countries because they still had to solve other problems of their own countries which were more crucial than the environmental problems. This very concept has caused more serious problems that may be unsolved if it is too late!

The total surface area of Vietnam is estimated about 326000 Km2 of which ¾ are mountains and plains. The two main sources that cause pollution of the land are the irresponsible use of fertilizers and chemicals, and the disposal of the solid and liquid waste from factories.

Regarding the developing countries like Vietnam, the treatment and the disposal of household waste is still at its early stage. Trash is collected on wheelbarrows run by humans who have to get in line waiting for the collecting trucks to pick it up and dispose of it at the dumping areas. Later on, the liquid waste permeates the ground and pollutes the underground water.

The conditions of the industrial waste are worse. The environmental regulations and administrations in those countries were taken into account in 1990’s, about 20 years behind developed countries. Even though the regulations were clearly written into the environmental laws regarding the treatment, most of these regulations have been good only on paper and most of the industrial liquid waste go directly through the sewer into main water current such as pools, lakes, rivers, and sea without being treated.

There have been some solutions to the above problems, either treating the polluted soil by in-site methods or off-site methods. However, so far there has not any method feasible for the treatment.

In a word, land, water, and air is three factors that are closely inter-related and should be maintained in balance according to our common sense. If, one of the factors is polluted, for example, the other factors would be affected, as a result of the law of Mother Nature.

6- Air Pollution

About a decade ago, the inhabitants of Hanoi could ride their bicycles in an easy and carefree way around the city. But nowadays, the presence of over two million motorcycles has posed serious problems of traffic jams and air pollution. The situation in Saigon is even worse.

In addition to the pollution deriving from exhaust fume and dust, power plants run by coal or gasoline, food processing plants, and factories have contributed to air pollution in the cities. Cigarette smoking in the household and at public places is another factor that causes an unhealthy environment for the children and adults as well.

The cities that are most polluted are Hanoi, Saigon, Dong Nai, Vung Tau, Hai Phong, Quang Ninh, Vinh Phu, and Da Nang. The problem of pollution in those cities is double compared to the city of Bangkok in Thailand.

The gasoline standard consumed in Vietnam is required to have the same standard of the European countries which is equivalent to the level of 90 octane gas in the US. In reality, this standard is not reliable due to various types of frauds committed by the gas companies and retailers with the purpose to gain more profit. It is understood that the lower gas standard tampered with frauds, the worse the air becomes polluted. Economically speaking, the worker's health is negatively affected by sickness and disease caused by polluted air.

In conclusion, air pollution is a man-made problem. It is the result of the lack of a well-informed program of education to the public to be aware of the ways how to protect the environment. Poverty also contributes to committing frauds in tampering gasoline. More importantly, corruption among the government officials is the main factor contributing to the problem.

7- Solid Waste in Vietnam

The crucial problem at the moment in Vietnam is how to clear up the accumulated solid waste collected from households. It is estimated that each dweller in large cities produces from 0.9 to 1.0 Kg a day and from 0.5 to 0.65 Kg in small towns, and about 9 million tons a year.

Presently, the environmental situation in Vietnam becomes worse and worse every day. The main cause of the environmental pollution is that the industrial development does not take place at the same pace with the environmental protection development plan.

Today, the two common approaches applied in Vietnam are: (1) to bury the solid waste in the ground and (2) to use the process of biodegradation. The first approach is not safe because the liquid permeates the ground and pollutes the underground water. So far, only 7% of the second approach of bio-degradation is applied.

Evidently, most of the landfills in Vietnam are not managed safely. A typical landfill that may be seen everywhere is an open space site that is not built properly as it is required. Eventually, it becomes a center of epidemic disease.

The population of the large city dwellers is only ¼ compared to other areas, but the amount of the disposed waste is equivalent ½ of the total waste in the country. That is the reason why the city dwellers are more prone to poor health than those living in the small towns.

People living in the cities of Da Nang and Saigon have begun revolting against the waste dumping in their vicinity. In view of the current level of urbanization, the population grows and the economic expansion in the cities would generate a larger amount of hazardous waste.

It is predicted that the growth in population in the cities would be 10% but the disposed waste would be 60%. The fact is that a higher living standard would create a higher level of consumption. And the higher the level of consumption the larger amount of hazardous waste is generated.

The danger of the environmental pollution will be inevitable and there is not a foreseeable way to remedy the situation.

However, a feasible approach to resolve this sluggish problem is to use the ODA (Official Development Aid) capital as an investment for the treatment project of solid waste and its leachate. Most importantly, a radical change of the absolutely rigid mentality of the authorities is needed before any better improvement could take place in the future.

8- Medical waste in Vietnam

It is evident that the environmental protection in Vietnam has been degraded due to the fact that the government’s focus is mainly on the economic development since 1986.

One of the causes of the above situation is the dumping of the solid waste including industrial, domestic, medical, and lastly electronic waste.

Medical waste is also called hospital waste as it comes from the hospital and consists of contaminated clothes, organ human waste, chemicals, discarded medical instruments, and medications…

Medical waste is the most contagious and hazardous to the hospital workers. It is estimated that ¼ of the medical waste is contaminated and it may have an immediate effect on humans and may spread as an epidemic.

Today, most of the hospitals in the developed countries use incinerators at high temperatures from 10000C to 40000C as a process of treatment of the medical waste. However, this process is still controversial because chemical ashes would pollute the air.

Another method is applied as an alternative method to the previous one. The medical waste would be pulverized instead of an incinerated method. The new method is better because the volume of the pulverized waste would be minimized. It costs less and would not pollute the air.

China and India have made progress in applying the new process of incinerator since 1998. Vietnam passed the bill on Management of Medical Waste in 1999. Ten years after the passage of the law, Vietnam has only one incinerator for 36 hospitals in Hanoi, and three incinerators for 100 hospitals in Saigon, and none exists in 64 provinces of the whole country.

So, what happens to the non incinerated waste?

The hospitals in Saigon produce about 7 tons of medical waste per month which would be collected in plastic trash cans. And no one knows what would happen next.

On August 29, 2007, the ABC radio in Australia reported that 300 tons of plastic material’s medical waste from the hospitals in Hanoi has been converted to household utensils.

Disposal of liquid medical waste

Besides the disposal of solid medical waste, the liquid waste is no less important. Among over 1000 hospitals in Vietnam, only 1/3 of them are provided with a system for treating liquid waste. Over 35 hospitals in Saigon do not have the facilities for that purpose and the existing facilities at other 40 hospitals are not qualified because they do not meet the standards required as it was reported in 2007.

Also, according to the report of the Resource and Environment Services in Hanoi, one half of 400 thousand cubic meters of liquid waste pouring into river Nhue and river Day daily, and one half of the quantity come from the hospitals carrying with its germs, radioactivity, intestinal viruses, Salmonella... which would penetrate aquatic animals and plants like fish, shrimps, and “rau muống” for example.

The information previously stated indicates that the treatment of medical waste in Vietnam is not taken into serious considerations by the government.

9- Importation of Toxic Waste into Vietnam

When Vietnam opened the door to the world in 1986, the importation of the disposed of materials from other countries to be recycled into new usable objects became a rather big problem. At the beginning, with the encouragement of the government to make use of the disposed of materials from abroad and the slackness from the top management, the disposed of materials have been imported uncontrollably to the point that it has become a significant industry.

Most of the imported disposed of materials include used papers, cardboard, soft plastic, nylon bags, glass and plastic containers, televisions, computers…

Facing the importation problems, The Department of Resources and Environment (DRE) issued a decree defining the protection of the environment regarding the manufacture of the materials.

Despite the fact that the regulations have been clearly stated the local and port authorities have a headache dealing with the disorder of the imported materials. This trouble has been arising from the beginning due to the lack of experience and knowledge in the regulations and management as well.

It is true that the DRE is responsible for the enforcement of the decree, and the local environmental services have the responsibility for checking, controlling, and managing the accuracy and the legitimacy of the imported materials, and to deal with the violations in due time.

The most important responsibility of the local environmental services is to check the existence of the facilities and the site for the materials imported. However, these services have not fulfilled their responsibility because of their laxity in controlling issuing permits. The unauthorized imported materials have never been returned to the countries of origin as it has been requested by the law.

In 1998, Pakistan, China, and Vietnam imported 20 million disposed televisions, and 60 million in 2005 to be recycled. Each television contains approximately 1 Kg of lead and mercury that could affect the nerve cells of the children and their intelligence if they are infected during pregnancy.

Another concern that needs to be brought to our attention is that, in a polarized world where terrorism is involved, the transport of concealed chemical weapons or radioactivity to get into “a transitional country” like Vietnam may become a reality with an unpredictable consequence.

It is likely that Vietnam may become a dumping site for the world if it remains too lax in controlling the importation of the waste materials from other countries.

10- Vietnamese Food Products

Vietnam is facing serious problems of pollution of the air, the land, the surface water and its sediment, and the underground water, and even the food products that people consume every day. The presence of chemical contaminants in the food like vegetables, legumes, and fruits is widespread all over the country. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 35% of the cancer victims in the world are related to the foods and the ways it is consumed.

Despite the fact that Vietnam has issued several measures to assure the safety of food products, during the years from 1997 to 2004, there were 6,467,448 cases of sickness caused by food contamination, among them, 194 persons died.

There have been 2 mains causes of the present situations: an objective cause and a subjective one. The objective cause is the polluted environment that affects vegetations and animals. And the subjective cause is the humans themselves who add chemicals to the food during the manufacturing process to maximize profits at the expenses of the consumer’s health. Such chemicals as borax, sulfite, 3-MCPD, sodium benzoate, formaldehyde, urea, lead, 2,4-D, 2,4,5-T hormone, melamine… have been imported from China and widely used, misused, and abused indiscriminately from homemade business to large-scale industry throughout Vietnam with inefficient controls from local and central authorities.

The solution to such widespread problems needs a radical and decisive approach from the top to lower scales of management on the part of the government. We know the source of supply of the chemicals is China that has been exerting great political power and commercial invasion on Vietnam that is still incapable to produce such chemicals. It is apparent that cutting off the source of supply from China could be a reasonable solution but it is not that simple and feasible.

There might be two possible reasons: (1) Vietnam is not competent to educate the people and to raise their consciousness about the danger of the use and misuse of the chemicals; (2) Being ignorant of the seriousness of the danger of the chemicals, insensitive to the real needs of the people, and negligent to the children’s wellbeing, Vietnam has implicitly allowed the expansion of the irresponsible system of profit-making at the expense of a stable and healthy society.

Anyway, the responsibility of restoring an orderly and an honest society always lies in the hands of a responsible government under any circumstances. 

11- Food Safety Sanitation in Vietnam

The sanitation for food safety in Vietnam has been a serious problem for the past 20 years. Victims of food poisoning have been covered almost daily on the news media. It seems that the problems tend to be increasing, and become more complicated because the chemical contaminants added to the foods are more “intricate”.

During the first 6 months of 2010, the Health Department announced that there had been 25 people died of food contaminants, and 1/3 of 150,000 people who died of cancer are victims of the same reasons every year.

Vietnam has over 400 thousand food manufacturers that are officially registered and about 100 thousand are non-registered as a small family business. Due to the diversity and complexity of the food products, the Food Safety Sanitation services could hardly accomplish what they are supposed to do.

The Vietnamese government enacted a National Plan of Sanitation for Food Safety from a period from 2006 to 2010 to reinforce and elevate the efficiency of the management system to the international standard to protect the consumer’s health and their benefits. The Plan’s objectives are so optimistic that in 2010 there must be 90% of food producers and 80% of food consumers would be well informed and would perform accordingly.

The money allocated for the Plan came up to 78 million US dollars with the contribution from the national and local budgets, loans and aids from foreign countries. In fact, however, the situation has become worse and worse as the number of contaminated food victims increased instead of decreasing as it had been projected. Such reverse results have become customary at no surprise to the public because the reports of the inspection services are often not truthful and not reliable.

Food products exported to other countries often returned due to the violation of international standards of sanitation such as the contamination of antibiotic, coliform, salmonella, sulfite …in coffee, black pepper, soy sauce, dried mushrooms, dried fish...

In order to solve such problems as previously stated, it is recommended that:

First, eradicate all sources of supply of chemicals that are illegal for use in a food product. Kim Bien open market is the main source in Saigon City.

As Vietnam presently is not capable to produce such chemicals, 90% of them have been imported from China legally and illegally. There must be ways to stop the smugglers.

The government should help the small and local business manufacturers through financial and technical aids to improve product quality and efficiency.

Education about food safety and sanitation should be required for those who are involved in the business.

It is hopeful that these basic recommendations could be implemented otherwise the conditions of food safety and sanitation would hardly be better in the future.

12- Conclusion

Since the years of 1960’s Orson Wells had predicted the negative consequences of the free market of the capitalist system through the exploitation of the naturals resources in order to foster outcome to the utmost. From this concept, he was pessimistic about the future crisis of the world.

And recently, Thomas Friedman and economist and columnist pointed out the collapse of some countries rich in natural resources such as petroleum, gold, gas…because they rely solely on the natural resources as the main product of their nations. The leaders of these nations live lavishly on the fortune they collect from the country without any realistic plan to build a stable infrastructure for the benefit of all people and at the same time move to a more sustainable system of production.

The gross domestic product (GDP) in these countries are relatively high but the top of few percent of those in power are very rich and the rest remain very poor. Just for a comparison, let us look at some other countries whose natural resources are not abundant such as South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan and even Thailand. These countries have been expanding the field of manufacturing, domestic and social welfare services to improve the living conditions of the people.

The concept of development on these days has to be understood as to what could be accomplished on the ground and not under the ground because of the natural resources, essentially underground deposits, are exhaustible and non-refillable. This is the case that happens in some developing countries, and Vietnam is no exception.

Unfortunately, Vietnam has long been deluding herself being immersed in the “silver sea and gold mountain”. However, gold and silver could not be found at all. The only thing that could be found is the unplanned, hasty, and irresponsible exploitation of the land, the forests, and the environment that destroy the eco-system all the way from the North to the South.

Irregular occurrences of storms, floods, and droughts take place more frequently. That is the consequences of the massive destruction of forests for lumber exportation.

When a government blindly focuses their attention and efforts only to exploit the country’s natural resources but neglect manufacturing products, they are ignoring the potentials and the needs of their own people. And in that case, people would not stand behind those in power.

Looking to the Future

The increase in the world population has become nearly alarming. Except for Europe and China, other countries in Asia and Africa cannot control their birth rates. Presently the world population comes up to over 6 billion which requires greater needs for food, healthcare, education, and environment. These needs are closely related and cause more problems that affect people’s life.

Therefore any prospective development of any single country in the world should have a global view and consideration of the cause and effect relationship that entails the consequences of every application of all manufacturing projects.

The 21st century is the beginning of a huge agglomeration of all countries on the world where each one, no matter it is rich or poor, has equal voices and contributions to the protection of the world eco-system.

The creation of the world consortium of scientists and technologists working together as humanitarians, having the same common factors and purposes in solving the problems of the world, would be a significant starting point of the century.

The trend of globalization in this field has no exception. However, the unequal situation in technology, level of education, economic and political development of the developing countries would be an obstacle to the projected goals. Therefore, the post-industrial countries should understand that reality and should conscientiously assist the developing countries in manpower, finances, and technology. In this century we will no longer see what would happen in the past era of colonialism, exploitation of natural resources and labor by the rich nations over the poor countries.

The case of Vietnam

Since later years of the 1980’s when the new policy of “Open Door” was initiated and followed by the “New Change” to free market, Vietnam has been entering a new cycle of economic growth. Saigon and its vicinity, where manufacturing industries flourished, accounted for 40% of the gross national product.

However, this hasty development has resulted in some negative effects such as:

Many services have been developed too rapidly without careful considerations like entertainment centers, hotels, golf courts aiming at serving the rich and the foreigners.

The creation of the new class of capitalists has given rise to destructive conflicts between political and economic powers that resulted in the decline of the Vietnamese people’s benefits.

Who is responsible for such situations?

Of course, the Vietnamese Communist Party.

* This article has been submitted to UNEP

* The author is the Chairman of Vietnamese American Science & Technology Society - VAST, Chairman of the Vietnamese Environmental Protection Society - VEPS

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