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Stricter enforcement required to address water pollution in Vietnam
Minh Vu 07:37, 2022/03/15
Rising threats against Vietnam’s water supply could reduce the nation’s GDP by 6% by the year 2035.

Vietnam is urged to take actions to solve water pollution by raising awareness and related law enforcement on the occasion of the International Day of Action for Rivers on March 14.

 Hoa Binh Hydropower on Da River, Vietnam helps prevent flood and ensure drainage. Photo: VNA

Disseminating actions to protect water resources and boosting the enforcement of regulations on environmental protection really matters in the country which is home to 2,360 rivers, local experts have suggested.

It requires more supervision of production, business and service establishments located by the water source as well as better control of investment and construction of domestic and industrial wastewater treatment facilities, Prof. Tran Hieu Nhue from the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment.

It is necessary to complete the wastewater treatment system in residential areas, industrial and agricultural zones. To do this, it requires the participation of state investors, contractors, and direct users, Dr. Duong An Thanh from the Biodiversity Conversation Agency, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. 

In addition, it is imperative to regularly check waste discharge in industrial parks to promptly detect and handle violations, the experts said, adding that factories need to treat wastewater instead of discharging it directly into the environment.

Besides, rural people should be instructed to build septic tanks and biogas to treat wastewater and avoid direct discharge of livestock manure and urine into the environment.


Most of the monitoring points show that river basins suffered organic and nutrient pollution, not pesticide contamination. Oil and heavy metal pollution only occur locally in areas affected by navigation activities or industrial production and mining.

Poor regulation coupled with irresponsible handling of waste has led to contamination of Vietnam’s ponds, lakes, and canals.

According to the World Bank, water is a precious national asset in Vietnam as most of Vietnam’s recent remarkable transformation has been driven by the development and use of its seemingly abundant water resources.

However, as Vietnam consolidates and continues on its growth path, it is crucial that major water challenges are dealt with early on. Unless decisive steps are taken, water might put a brake on the country’s development.

The World Bank argues that the impact of water pollution on human health is the greatest threat to the Vietnamese economy. It further argues that if these challenges are not met by the year 2035, Vietnam could see a 6% annual reduction in GDP.

As part of efforts to protect rivers and water resources, the Vietnam Rivers Network (VRN) was established in 2005 to enhance awareness and the capacity of its network members and communities to promote their direct participation in water resource and river system protection and management, as well as in the adaptation to the risks and challenges related to water and rivers in Vietnam.

VRN expands and intensifies its coalitions and cooperation with both relevant domestic and overseas stakeholders to protect water resources, rivers systems, and the livelihoods of communities living in river basins. It undertakes the role of independently monitoring, evaluating, and advocating for policies that are related to water resources, based on the evidence.

The International Day of Action for Rivers is a day dedicated to solidarity when diverse communities around the world come together with one voice to say that rivers matter. On its 25th anniversary in 2022, the world highlighted the importance of Rivers to Biodiversity. 

As rivers are under extreme threat, with less than 10% of the world’s river basins protected, International Rivers strengthens movements of communities and civil society at the forefront of defending rivers by undertaking investigative research to generate robust data and evidence to inform policies and campaigns; remaining independent and fearless in campaigning to expose and resist destructive projects; and developing a vision that protects rivers and the communities that depend upon them.

TAG: Vietnam river network water pollution international rivers
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