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Ministry asked to speed up green growth criteria

Ministry asked to speed up green growth criteria
An illegal stone mine in the Central Highland province of Lam Đồng. Photo

HÀ NỘI — Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to formulate a set of green growth criteria for Viet Nam to better harmonise economic growth with environmental protection.

Speaking at the ministry’s conference to review the implementation of environmental policies in 2020, Dũng also called for efforts from the ministry to control large sources of waste, prevent the risk of negative environmental incidents, step up programmes to deal with pollution and improve air and water quality.

The environment minister Trần Hồng Ha said 2020 was a difficult year for Viet Nam as it suffered serious damage from COVID-19 and natural disasters.

However, the country’s environmental sector still managed to record encouraging achievements, Ha said.

He highlighted major environmental policies taking effect last year, especially the 2020 Law on Environmental Protection, which aimed at achieving harmony between socio-economic development and environmental protection and enhancing effectiveness in using natural resources for national development.

Over the year, environmental authorities also worked with agencies to uncover and punish violations of environmental regulations as well as enhance public awareness on environmental protection.

According to the ministry, last year, agencies under the ministry conducted 137 inspections which helped detect administrative violations at 106 units, collecting fines worth a total of VNĐ17.2 billion (US$746,000).

The agencies last year conducted 72 inspections examining the mining activities of 251 units nationwide. Of the mining inspections, 50 were unannounced. As many as 58 out of the 251 examined units were found to have violated environmental regulations and had to pay a total fines of nearly VNĐ5 billion ($217,000).

The agencies also inspected 29 units involved in water resources and fined two units some VNĐ255 million ($11,000).

In the last four years, the environment ministry conducted 641 administrative inspections at 4,253 units. More than 750 units were found to violate environmental administrative regulations during the period, paying total fines of more than VNĐ143.7 billion.

Environmental inspections also forced individuals and organisations to pay some VNĐ800 million to the State budget and compensate more than VNĐ11 trillion ($477 million) to people who were affected by their violations.

According to minister Ha, last year, the country’s natural resources were managed strictly and used effectively, with illegal mining fundamentally eliminated.

The licensing of mining rights via bidding was also promoted with 300 mining areas permitted, raising total budget revenue from mining to VNĐ23 trillion (US$995.8 million) over the past five years. VNS

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