June 30, 2008 — Industrialization is taking its toll on Vietnam’s environment and more funds should be dedicated to fighting pollution, the World Bank said in a study published on June 27. Between 1990 and 2005 Vietnam achieved an average annual growth rate of 7.5% in gross domestic product, driven largely by the industrial sector, but little was being done to protect the environment, the study said.
“There is a growing pressure on the government to raise public expenditure on pollution control and to force business to do the same,” the study said. “The cost to the economy of pollution, which is increasing in volume and toxicity, are becoming evident to the government and the public at large.”
Funds dedicated to fighting pollution gradually grew from 2000 to 2005, when it reached $600 million , But the bank said Vietnam needed about $2.5 billion to adequately address the problem.
Five provinces or big cities, including the financial hub Ho Chi Minh City and capital Hanoi, are home to 63% of manufacturing jobs and nearly 55% of the country’s industrial firms. “Industrial pollution is highly concentrated in certain areas of the country, and originates from a few manufacturing subsectors,” the study said.The manufacturing of chemical products and shoes were among the top polluters in the country, the bank said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008