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Capital suffers from lacklustre waste management

Secretary of the Ha Noi Party Committee, Pham Quang Nghi suggested raising the environmental levy on households in the capital, arguing the current fee is too low.

Workers collect garbage on Ha Noi's Le Duan Street. Fines for environmental violations may be increased to tackle the city's pollution.
Workers collect garbage on Ha Noi’s Le Duan Street. Fines for environmental violations may be increased to tackle the city’s pollution.

Speaking at a meeting on waste water treatment on Tuesday, Nghi also suggested increasing the fine for environmental violations, arguing the city’s pollution levels were caused by a lack of awareness.

Environment pollution and waste water have greatly hindered sustainable development in the capital, according to a report by the Ha Noi’s People’s Committee unveiled at the meeting.

The report said huge volumes of waste, measuring about 6,500 tonnes per day, were pushing up the price of waste collection and transport to landfill and recycling plants located outside the city.

Meanwhile, authorities have only been able to collect between 60 to 80 per cent of environmental fees at the communal level, which affected the city’s capacity to pay for waste collection.

Waste water treatment has also encountered difficulties, accounting for only minor improvements in pollution in residential areas and urban areas, the report said.

The construction of infrastructure aimed to protect the environment in industrial zones has remained inadequate, creating bigger problems in managing untreated waste water.

According to Vice Chairman of the People’s Committee Vu Hong Khanh, the city has only been able to treat 20 per cent of its waste water, with untreated residue being discharged directly into lakes, ponds and rivers. About 17 city hospitals have also failed to implement waste water treatment systems.

The city generates about 750 tonnes of industrial waste and more than 8 tonnes of medical waste everyday, Khanh added.

Director of the city’s Department of Construction Le Van Duc said city authorities would issue a 5-year plan on building a waste treatment system. The plan has identified sites for landfill sites and waste processing spots in between districts.

Vice Chairman of the city People’s Council Le Van Hoat said the city spent VND4 trillion (US$188 million) on environmental protection. However, most environmental services were supplied on an orders basis, rather than through public tenders, Hoat said.

He suggested transitioning to a tender system to improve waste management.

Meanwhile, Ha Noi’s Party Committee Secretary, Pham Quang Nghi, has urged relevant agencies to come up with a solution to tackle the city’s waste problems to slow the pace of environmental degradation.