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Vietnam’s PM orders intensifying air quality control measures

HCM City is piloting a voluntary programme to monitor emissions from motorbikes. — Photo nld.com.vn. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

HANOI, Jan 21, 2021, VNS. Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked ministries and People’s Committees of centrally-run cities and provinces to step up the implementation of programmes and tasks to improve air quality control, Vietnam News reported.

The move aims to intensify the control of air pollution, ease its impact on people’s health and spur socio-economic development.

In a recently-issued directive, the Government leader emphasised the need to review law enforcement and the control of dust and emissions at industrial facilities as well as from transport and construction activities.

He also ordered the suspension of the facilities that cause serious environmental pollution.

The directive pointed out the worsening air conditions in many localities nationwide, affecting socio-economic development and the health of the public, mainly due to dust and emissions by vehicles, and constructional and industrial activities that are responsible for huge emissions yet to be controlled effectively.

Tree coverage and water surface areas in urban development had not yet satisfied requirements, the document said, highlighting shortcomings in the implementation of relevant laws, programmes and tasks.

The PM asked the Ministry of National Resources and Environment to assess the realisation of the decision dated June 1, 2016, approving the national action plan on air quality control by 2020, with a vision towards 2025, and the proposal on air quality control plans for 2021-2025.

The ministry would need to enhance its management and organisation of air quality monitoring programmes, announce results and swiftly issue warnings of air quality to the public.

The PM also tasked the ministry with completing national standards for emissions of industrial activities and vehicles.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Transport must promptly put forth national programmes and projects on the development of means of transport, and the environmentally friendly public transport system.

People should be encouraged to use environmentally-friendly public transport vehicles, PM Phúc said.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was asked to strengthen its inspections over projects and factories with huge discharges that may cause environmental pollution, while devising policies in support of businesses using clean energy and environmentally-friendly technologies.

The Ministry of Construction must guide and inspect the implementation of regulations and measures for dust and emission control in constructional activities, along with urban planning, with tree coverage and water surface area ensured.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would be in charge of supervising the collection and treatment of waste, and the processing of post-harvest by-products, while enhancing the communications work.

The PM asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to issue national technical standards for fuels, and support relevant scientific-technological research studies.

He urged the Ministry of Health to assess the impact of air pollution on the public’s health, and propose measures for public health protection, while the Ministry of Finance was requested to inspect the implementation of incentive policies on environmental protection in line with the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection.

The Ministry of Public Security was requested to investigate and seriously handle violations of relevant laws.

The PM said cities and provinces should build and roll out planning schemes on local air quality monitoring networks, and push ahead with the issuance and realisation of plans on public transport development.

Vehicles that use clean energy should be prioritised, he said, stressing the need to revoke and terminate old and outdated vehicles.

The localities should urge construction and transport project investors and constructors to seriously observe environmental protection measures, and encourage production facilities to revamp outdated machines, he said.

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