Pollution shrinks VN GDP by 5%

Tuesday, Nov 22, 2016 11:09

Each year, environmental pollution causes Việt Nam an economic loss of 5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP). — Photo vietnamplus.vn

Each year, environmental pollution causes Việt Nam an economic loss of 5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and the figure is expected to rise, said Dinh Duc Truong, deputy head of the Economics and Environment Faculty under Viet Nam’s National Economics University.

Trường told an international workshop on Viet Nam’s economy held in Ha Noi last week that the country could soon surpass China’s 10-per cent pollution-related GDP decline.

Violations of environmental regulations have been recorded at some 80 per cent of industrial parks in Viet Nam, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).

Firms with foreign direct investment (FDI) account for 60 per cent of the total enterprises that exceed waste discharge standards, the online Dan tri newspaper quoted the GSO as saying.

Another study on business environmental behaviour, by the Central Institute for Economic Management, shows that 23 per cent of foreign-invested firms discharged waste exceeding the allowable standards.

Viet Nam has signed 15 free trade agreements (FTAs), which could have negative repercussions for the environment while providing new opportunities.

The garment and textile, steel and paper sectors, which have attracted high levels of FDI, could cause environmental pollution with several big projects from China and Taiwan.

Dang Duc Anh, head of the analysis and forecast board at the Ministry of Planning and Investment, said water resources, agriculture and rural development, health care and coastal areas are the most susceptible to climate change and environmental pollution.

Viet Nam ranks 23rd among 193 countries in the Climate Change Vulnerability Index released by Maplecroft, a global risk and strategic consulting firm based in the UK. It is one of the 30 countries rated at “extreme risk” on the list.

Although Viet Nam has not seriously contributed to global warming, it is among the 25 low and middle-income countries that release the most greenhouse gases every year.

Anh said Viet Nam needs appropriate policies to adapt to and mitigate climate change impact and protect the environment so as to ensure sustainable development. Industries that rely on the exploitation of natural resources, especially non-renewable ones, or have low economic benefits, should be curbed.

He suggested clean energy like natural gas, bio-fuel, new and renewable energy be encouraged, while businesses release air pollutants within allowable quotas. Legal regulations on environmental protection must be overhauled with punishments strong enough to deter violations, he said. Waste release must be monitored, and the State should spend more money on environmental protection, he added. — VNS

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