The People’s Council of Ho Chi Minh City has issued a resolution centered on the environment, in which it promises a citywide purge of pollution-causing facilities by 2020.
On Sunday, the municipal People’s Council convened an abnormal meeting dedicated to the discussion about urban environmental protection and waste management, the first time such a session has been held to tackle the issue.
According to the city’s administration, on average, around 8,300 tons of household waste, between 1,500 and 2,000 tons of industrial waste, 22 tons of medical waste and 2,000 tons of sludge are produced across the city every day.
“Almost 100 percent of this waste is collected and treated every day,” said Nguyen Toan Thang, director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
“However, the problem remains that locally-run garbage collecting firms are only equipped with basic vehicles and therefore drop litter along the way. Many residents frequently complain about garbage collection points because of their irritatingly foul smell.”
The city’s dependence on incineration and a lack of recycling options were also brought up at Sunday’s session.
“The city’s production of waste currently sits at 8,300 tons a day, and forecasts predict 13,000 tons a day by 2025, however our garbage processing capacity and technology have hardly changed at all,” whined Cao Anh Minh, a member of the city’s council.
According to Le Van Khoa, deputy chairman of Ho Chi Minh City, up to 76 percent of the city’s garbage is buried, which not only leads to further pollution but also takes up a lot of land.
“The city’s administration has vowed to reduce this number to 50 percent in 2020 and to 20 percent by 2025,” Khoa said. “We have also requested a shift from garbage burial to incineration in order to cope with the problem.”
Council members also demanded stronger effort to enact garbage separation at the source, which they said had been discussed and piloted for too long without progress.
Some proposed adding waste separation to the elementary curricula to educate children to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
Nguyen Thi Nga, who represented constituents from District 12, suggested forcing schools, offices and supermarkets to sort their own waste before expanding the scheme to residential areas.
“People who work in these places must follow their internal regulations, and once they have been used to sorting rubbish, they will automatically do the same at home,” Nga explained.
Another representative went further by suggesting legislation that grants garbage collection companies the right to refuse to collect waste from families that do not sort their own rubbish.
A resolution was reached at the end of the session, in which the city vowed to provide all citizens with access to environmental information by 2018 and make sure that 100 percent of school curricula include the teaching of knowledge and skills necessary to protect the environment by the same year.
By 2020, all pollution-causing facilities in the city will have been purged, according to the resolution.
The city will also look to complete installation of a citywide automated environmental monitoring system in the same year, which would allow authorities to effectively supervise the city’s air and water quality.