Dr. Michael Kerth took part in a delegation trip „Roundtable Water and Waste Water in Vietnam“
The delegation trip, funded by the International Bureau (IB) of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), addressed the market potential in the field of water and environmental technologies.
Goals of the delegation trip were to establish and foster business and scientific contacts between members of the German Water Partnership and relevant stakeholders of the Vietnamese water sector. The delegation visited different institutions in order to identify problems and needs of stakeholders in water and environment related areas. Roundtable discussions with representatives from waste-, water- and wastewater companies, ministries and research institutes gave a chance to point out new business and science ideas and strengthen the possibility to get in touch with relevant partners.
The reader presents an overview of people and companies participating in the delegation trip.
Visit of the Village of Friendship in Hanoi The Vietnam Friendship Village was founded in 1992 by George Mizo, an American veteran of the Vietnam War who was interested in helping to repair the damage done to the Vietnamese people and to Vietnam-America relations by the war. The village was originally conceived of as a residence for orphaned children and elderly people suffering from the impact of Agent Orange. Collaboration between the Vietnamese, American, and German governments provided the land and funds necessary to build a medical building and several residences. The focus of the village has broadened, and it now provides residents with a variety of alternative health treatments, food grown in an onsite garden, and education in trades and crafts as well.
The village is very focused on the children living there, not all of whom are orphans, but many whose parents cannot care for them adequately either due to the severity of their condition, their poverty, or the parents own related health problems. The children come from 43 provinces of Vietnam and have a variety of helath problems, ranging from mental handicaps to physical deformities and sensory limitations. Many of the children are unable to continue in school either as a result of their mental or physical handicaps or because of teasing from other children. The Village provides them with a place to live, access to necessary medical care, and provides constant supervision for the children whose mental problems would otherwise lead them to endanger or harm themselves.
Although there is no formal school in the village, there are many courses that either teach the children vocational skills like sewing or artificial flower making, or give basic primary and secondary education. They are hoping to organize a signing class for the children with speech and hearing problems. Since it opened the village has had hundreds of children and veterans pass through on a rotating system. Those in dire need join the approximately 130 people living in the village, receive treatment, and if their condition permits, return to live with their families.
The village has many other initiatives beyond the direct care and education it provides to the children. It works toward self-sufficiency by cultivating much of its own food, raising pigs, chickens and geese, and growing a variety of fruits and herbs. The village has an assortment of vegetable gardens, some which allow residents to grow what they wish, and one which produces organics, satisfying the entire village’s need for vegetables. They sell additional fish and produce at market to provide funding for the project which they plan to expand to include more fish ponds and a compost heap with the goal of becoming totally self sufficient within three years.
The photos show some impressions during a visit of Dr. Harald Mark, who delivered a donation of 1600 € to the Village of Friendship.
Vietnamese-German Workshop "Re-Use of Contaminated Sites" in Hanoi
Vice-Minister of Environment Astrid Klug opened the workshop in the Melia Hotel, Hanoi. Experts from Germany and Vietnam discussed about the problem of re-use of land, which formerly has been used as industrial areas. A lot of them are free now, due to the relocation program of the Vietnamese government.
To reduce land consumption the brownfields must be developed. But - like in Germany - there are problems to be considered especially concerning contamination and the most promising kind of re-use.
Dr. Harald Mark presented successful examples of re-use in North-Rhine Westfalia (photo).
Relocation of polluting enterprises stalls
Capital shortages, difficulties in finding new locations and a lack of initiative by enterprises are some of the reasons behind the incomplete implementation of the city’s plan to relocate polluting companies and production facilities.
Under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 64/QD-TTg dated April 22, 2003, 25 businesses and facilities responsible for pollution were scheduled to be relocated out of Ha Noi.
However, only 17 polluters have been moved so far, although all were scheduled to relocate by 2007, according to deputy director of the city’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyen Dang Binh.
The Ha Noi Alcohol and Wine Joint Stock Company, the Sunggei Way Construction Materials Joint Venture and the Ha Noi Maternity Hospital are among the eight facilities still slated to be relocated.
Director of the Ha Noi Alcohol and Wine Joint Stock Company Ho Van Hai said that the company had planned to move to the Yen Phong Industrial Zone in northern Bac Ninh Province in 2005.
However, to date only 65 per cent of the move had been implemented due to financial difficulties and obstacles in the removal procedures, he said.
The removal project was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade with total cost of VND755 billion (US$43 million). VND270 billion ($15.8 million) was to be financed by the city and VND350 billion ($20.5million) was to be borrowed from banks for completion by 2007.
"However, when we received the funds, the tax authorities asked us to pay 20 per cent tax on the extra income," Hai said.
He asked the city’s People’s Committee to petition the Government not to impose tax on capital support. Hai expects the removal to be completed by this year’s fourth quarter.
Deputy general director of the Ha Dong-based Sunggei Way Construction Materials Joint Venture Nguyen Tien Ngoc said that the company had registered to lease land in the Bich Hoa industrial complex in Thanh Oai District of former Ha Tay Province (now part of expanded Ha Noi) as part of its relocation strategy in 2005.
However, roads to the complex were unable to take the weight of the company’s specialised transport vehicles.
In 2007, after the Ha Tay province’s People’s Committee approved construction of the Dong Mai industrial zone project, the company registered for a land lease but have not made any moves to relocate because Dong Mai project investors have not provided them with the land.
Ngoc suggested that the city’s People’s Committee should ask the industrial zone management board to transfer the land soon so that the company could begin the relocation process by the second quarter of the year. Otherwise, the company may move instead to the Phu Nghia industrial zone in Chuong My District.
Lack of capital also delayed relocation of two hospitals. According to Hoang Gia Thang, director of the Ha Noi Health Department’s project management board, problems arose when the Maternity Hospital capacity was increased from 250 beds to 400 beds.
The hospital’s increased scale means that the capacity of the waste water treatment station must also be expanded at a cost of VND6 billion ($343,000). Director of the city’s Architecture and Planning Department Vu Tuan Dinh said that companies should consider a long-term plan when seeking a new location.
Some industrial zones were located on the outskirts of the city when newly established; but due to fast urbanisation, the zones might soon fall within city limits, forcing companies to move again. If the Sunggei Way company chooses to move to the Dong Mai industrial zone, it would easily fall into this category, he added.
Senior lieutenant-colonel Tran Trong Binh, head of the Ha Noi Environment Police Department, admitted that companies faced difficulties, but also said that the companies weren’t committed to moving and would intentionally wait for assets to be fully depreciated.
"We discovered some factories failing to operate their waste treatment systems. When we investigated, they said that the systems were broken."
"Agencies responsible for investigation and solutions to environmental pollution are not clearly separated," Binh said further.
To solve the problem, the city would need to establish an environmental pollution steering committee, he suggested. Deputy chairman of the city’s People’s Committee Vu Hong Khanh said that the city promised to give enterprises as much support as possible, but that they would still be required to follow the relocation schedule.
"The city will be strict in the application of legal punishment on enterprises that intentionally prolong implementation of Decision 64."
The city would establish a steering committee as suggested by Binh, Khanh said, and asked relevant authorities to continue to investigate polluters. Khanh stressed that all enterprises must satisfy environmental protection requirements, whether they are moved to other locations or if they stay in the city, saying that "Ha Noi will not pollute other provinces."
The city will continue to observe relocated enterprises. If they continue with violations, they would be added to the list of enterprises causing serious pollution and be punished. (Source Viet Nam News — VNS)
Radio Report on the Project "Register of Contaminated sites in Vietnam"
Dr. Ralph Ahrens, a journalist of WDR, accompanied Dr. Harald Mark and Michael Zschiesche to Vietnam in January.
Vietnam needs US $12 billion for urban infrastructure
Viet Nam needed US$12 billion for urgent urban infrastructure work in major cities and provinces, said Truong Van Doan, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment here yesterday. Doan said the money would be for urban traffic; clean water, drainage; solid-waste treatment and urban development projects.Doan said the infrastructure that used to serve 250,000 people in Ha Noi was now serving about 4 million people. The deputy minister even said that "without a change, there will be no road to travel or no air to breath".
He was speaking at a conference held in the capital to call for investment to urban infrastructure.Doan said there was an urgent need to meet urbanisation demands which required the interest of aid sponsors as well as local and international finance organisations.Dean A Cira, World Bank urban-sector co-ordinator for Viet Nam, said the country was one of the fastest urbanising countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
It was estimated that up to 1.3 million people would be added to the urban population every year until 2020. He said the urbanisation level would reach 33 per cent by 2010 and 45 per cent by 2020 -doubling from 23 to 46 million.Cities have made a major contribution to economic growth and poverty-reduction in Viet Nam, providing 70 per cent of GDP. While Ha Noi and HCM City account for 11.3 per cent of the total population and 32 per cent of the total GDP in 2007, medium-sized cities are also growing in economic importance.
The number of cities with populations exceeding 250,000 is projected to grow from 19 at present to 28 by 2010 and to 35 by 2020. A representative from the Ministry of Construction said Viet Nam was facing serious problems from lack of or inadequate waste-treatment systems. Most waste water is not treated before flowing to the rivers, causing massive pollution. According to ministry data, the amount of solid waste throughout all areas in Viet Nam each day is about 20,000 tonnes, including industrial and medical solid waste, but the percentage of collection reaches 82 per cent on average. Among the solid waste, about 2,000 tonnes is recyclable and re-usable. Most dumping grounds are not hygienic, especially treatment systems for waste water.
Pham Quoc Tuan from the Ministry of Planning and Investment said none of the 731 urban areas in Viet Nam met environmental standards. According to the Ministry of Construction, on top of this, the percentage of land used for traffic accounts for 15 per cent of urban construction land.
This is forecast to reach about 30 per cent by 2010. It is forecast that by 2020, Viet Nam’s population will be about 141 million and the percentage of urbanisation, 41 per cent. Doan said it was difficult to attract investment for waste treatment due to a lack of good incentive policies. He said the situation was alarming in most big cities, including Ha Noi, HCM City, Hai Phong and Da Nang. Ngo Xuan Tiec, director of Tam Sinh Nghia Company, which specialises in waste treatment, said getting money for work was difficult for his company.
"Firstly, I cannot get loans from the bank. In their opinion, treating waste is a far-fetched concept In Viet Nam. "So I and my co-workers must use our houses as a security for loans," said Tiec. As the first Vietnamese firm doing waste treatment, Tiec’s company finds the work difficult. For the last two years, he has ran a waste treatment system in the central city of Hue, but gets no fees.
While Tiec makes construction materials from the waste, he thinks that to encourage more private sources like his, the State should create more favourable investment conditions as well as helping sell products from the waste. (Source Viet Nam News — VNS)
Inspectors to check on city pollution
Special attention will be paid to the inspection of companies’ adherence to environmental protection and socio-economic laws, said the HCM City Inspectorate.The statement was made after the discovery of massive violations of Viet Nam’s Environmental Protection Law by Vedan, a Taiwanese-owned company.
The City has since established 63 environmental inspection teams to probe illegal activities by enterprises.
Two hundred and eighty-three environmental violations have been uncovered so far this year in industrial parks, waste collection, transportation companies and hazardous waste producers. Administrative fines for such violations have totaled around VND3 billion (US$176,470).
Forty-six inspection teams have also been established under the instruction of the HCM City People’s Committee to investigate the misuse of funds by state-owned enterprises. Since the teams’ founding, they have collected about VND37 billion ($2.17 million) in fines.
Next year, the City plans to establish an additional 25-30 inspection teams to enforce proper land-use management. They will investigate incidents of phony property ownership certificates, and ensure that state-owned enterprises are using their leased land for purposes approved by the Government.
Finally, another set of inspection teams will be created to examine local governmental agencies’ revenues and expenditures; public asset management; and the equitisation of state-owned enterprises. — (Source Viet Nam News VNS)