03/05/2015 10:31 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Rural areas grapple to meet environmental criteria

Hanoi, May 2 (VNA) – Criteria related to environmental conservation has become the most difficult to achieve among the 19 criteria of the national target programme on building new-style rural areas, with only 26 percent of the communes under the programme currently meeting this requirement.

The programme, initiated by the Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to boost rural areas of Vietnam.

The environmental criterion stipulates a commune must ensure 75 percent of its households use water that meets national quality standards and all production and business facilities satisfy environmental requirements. It must also ensure a green and clean local environment, build graveyards in line with urban planning, and collect and treat waste and wastewater properly.

According to the programme’s steering committee, more than 1,000 centralised clean water facilities, 500 dumping grounds and 1,200 drainage ditches have been upgraded in rural areas nationwide.

The low rate of communes meeting the environmental criterion is attributable to the growing population, uncontrolled use of fertilisers and pesticides and the neglect of daily, agricultural, and production waste treatment.

The limited available land area and funding shortage have also hindered efforts in planting trees and constructing standard dumping grounds and waste treatment facilities.

The prevalence of outdated production equipment and authorities’ slack supervision over production activities has further complicated environmental protection activities.

The national programme’s steering committee said 785 communes had satisfied all 19 criteria by the end of 2014, accounting for 8.8 percent of the communes across Vietnam, as reported on the Government Portal.

The country aims to have 20 percent of all communes nationwide meet all the requirements by the end of 2015, bringing it up to 50 percent by 2020.

To enhance the new-style rural area building, the committee plans to step up communication activities to raise public awareness and encourage community involvement in the programme.

It will also ask local authorities to harness resources to improve basic infrastructure, especially those serving economic activities; restructure agriculture towards higher added value and sustainable development; and facilitate technological transfer to apply advanced equipment in agricultural production.