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What should Ho Chi Minh City do to increase green space?

What should Ho Chi Minh City do to increase green space?

Friday, December 15, 2023, 19:03 GMT+7
What should Ho Chi Minh City do to increase green space?
Ly Tu Trong Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre

Plans to increase green space in Ho Chi Minh City were first announced several years ago, yet little has been done to meet the goal.

Ho Chi Minh City leads Vietnam in economic development and contributions to the country’s budget, yet all that glitters is not gold. Or, in this case, green.

Currently, the city boasts a mere 0.55 square meters of green space per person. Comparatively, Hanoi, Da Nang City in the central region, and northern Hai Phong City boast 2.06 square meters, 2.4 square meters, and 3.41 square meters of green space per person, respectively.

For the past few years, the city has been working on its green space development project for the 2020-30 period, whereby the area dedicated to parks in the southern metropolis is expected to grow by at least 150 hectares (or 0.65 square meters per person) by 2025, and 450 hectares (or one square meter per person) by 2030.

But if past failure is an indicator of the future, then the green space development project might not be the best hope for a greener Ho Chi Minh City considering former plans calling for the southern metropolis to house 11,400 hectares of parks by 2020 fell wildly short, with the city reaching just a mere 500 hectares of parks by its deadline.

In some areas, residents have even begun criticizing such plans, complaining that some of the city’s green spaces have shrunk or disappeared over the past few years.

Still, the city is pushing along with its plans. Recently, the city covered the base of 30 trees on Truong Son Street, which passes by Tan Son Nhat International Airport, with concrete.

The concrete was later removed in order to allow the trees to grow unimpeded following public complaints. 

Local residents also recently re-grated 100 trees, including many that are over a century old, that had been removed from Gia Dinh Park in Go Vap District.

The number of trees in the city has fallen gradually as many ancient trees are chopped down to make room for infrastructure projects. 

An agency in Ho Chi Minh City takes advantage of a small corner to create a green space. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

An agency in Ho Chi Minh City takes advantage of a small corner to create a green space. Photo: Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre

The current green space development project calls on the city to seek solutions to early detect and save sick trees as well as grow new plants to replace those that have been felled. 

There is a movement to increase the land bank for tree planting and to instate policies that require residential areas to have parks and gardens, as well as streets that can provide shade. There is also a proposal that trees should be grown near industrial parks, roads, and residential areas to create 'green belts.'

The project also notes that the city should take advantage of public land, such as in the Binh Hung Hoa Cemetery in Binh Tan District, Mien Dong Coach Station in Binh Thanh District, Chi Hoa Prison in District 10, and spaces near the Saigon River, in order to create more green spaces.

Another important task the project delineates is enhancing the attraction of private investment in the green area development so that long-stalled park projects can be adjusted to assure that would allow them to recover capital, including the development of sports centers and event spaces in these parks.

Another important aspect of the project is calling on agencies, schools, and companies to develop solutions for increasing their green areas, depending on their abilities.

It is necessary to disseminate tree planting and care methods, along with solutions to take advantage of vacant land to plant trees.

The municipal authorities should encourage locals to create green areas on terraces, banisters, stairs, spaces inside and outside rooms, and walls.

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Thanh Ha - Tran Van Tuong / Tuoi Tre News

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