HCM City works hard to clean up

HCM City has undertaken several measures in recent years to improve its environment.

Nine years ago, authorities drew up a list of 1,600 factories that caused severe pollution, and have since helped many of them relocate to industrial parks like Le Minh Xuan, Tan Tao, and Hiep Phuoc.

The ones that did not move have taken measures to curb pollution or switched to non-polluting activities.

But Tran Nguyen Hien, head of the city’s Environment Protection Sub-department, said while the old factories may have stopped polluting, new ones have appeared, and there are many polluted residential areas.

“The sub-department plans to step up inspections,” he told the daily Sai Gon Giai Phong (Liberated Sai Gon), adding that companies and other production establishments that violate environmental norms would be shut down.

In the past few years, authorities have also made efforts to improve water quality in the city’s 3,000km of rivers and canals.

When these projects are finished, they will help improve the city’s water environment and beautify landscapes along the canals, especially in the inner districts.

Canals have also been regularly dredged and rubbish along them collected in some areas.

The city has co-operated with neighbouring provinces like Binh Duong, Tay Ninh, Long An, Dong Nai, and Ba Ria – Vung Tau to check environmental pollution.

They have jointly undertaken projects like cleaning up the Ba Bo Canal, preventing pollutants from being released into the Sai Gon and Vam Co Dong rivers and Thay Cai – An Ha Canal, and building a solid-waste treatment plant for HCM City and Long An. — VNS



Efficient funding for cleaner production

Thanks to industry promotion funds, many enterprises in the southern province of Binh Phuoc have obtained initial positive results from cleaner production activities.

As one of the first enterprises in Binh Phuoc Province that have received aids for a change towards cleaner production, Thuan Phat Co .Ltd (Bu Doc District) received a technological transfer peeling away the covers of cashew nut kernels. This is a new technology with the machine systems worth nearly VND550 million, of which funding from the provincial Industry Promotion and Consultancy Development Center was VND127.9 million).

The machine has preeminent features such as a capacity of 250-350 kg per hour (approximately 750 tonnes of material a year), the ratio of clean white kernel from 65-85 percent (after one run) and the ratio of broken kernel from 6-10 percent. Therefore, the machine reduces the cost of time and manpower, increase safety and hygiene in processing of exported cashew nuts, meeting the market demand for the output and quality of the products. Dien Hien Binh, the Director of the company said, this new production line brings three huge benefits to enterprises, namely without material loss, saving workers, time and many costs, helping to meet the order deadlines.

In 2013, Industry Promotion and Consultancy Development Center was allocated nearly VND4 billion to develop support solutions to businesses in areas of industry promotion, energy efficiency and cleaner production. With this funding, the center completed projects on application of modern machinery and equipment into production, helping businesses improve their capability in using fuels, materials and saving manpower such as the application of color selecting machines in a cashew nuts processing production line in Nam Son Co .Ltd, the application of peeling machines in a cashew nuts processing production line in Hung Hang Co .Ltd and Duyen Tuyet Private Enterprise, the application of boiler system in cashew nuts processing production line in Hoang Khuan Private Enterprise, the application of an automatic brick pressing production line for Nguyen Phuoc Production Unit and carry out the project on building a technical performance model to process export cashew nuts at Thanh Duoc Co.Ltd.

These solutions are expected to help the enterprises get much benefits thanks to decreased material and fuel loss, workers reduction and improved product quality.

To expand cleaner production efficiency to other areas in Binh Phuoc, the provincial People’s Committee issued Decision 2618/QD-UBND on a cleaner production action plan in the industry sector in the province for the 2011-2015 period. The decision specifies that by 2015, 25 percent of local industrial production units will apply cleaner production methods which can save 5-8 percent of energy, material and fuel consumption. This decision is regarded as an orientation for further implementation of cleaner production activities in the province in the coming time./.



Trouble for non-fired brick firms

The science and technology ministry, in collaboration with the construction ministry, held a workshop to promote the production and use of non-fired bricks last Friday.

The Prime Minister has issued Decision No1686/QĐ-TTg, approving a project to promote non-fired brick (NFB) production and utilisation in Việt Nam in 2014.

The project aims to help Việt Nam reduce greenhouse gas emissions by gradually cutting down on the use of fossil fuels and good quality soil for making bricks, while increasing the production, sales and utilisation of NFBs.

In the decade following the completion of the project, direct and indirect CO2 emissions will be reduced by an estimated 383,000 tonnes and 13.4 million tonnes, respectively.

Speaking at the workshop about the country’s building materials, Phạm Văn Bắc, deputy director of the department of building materials under the construction ministry, said the demand for construction materials in Việt Nam grew about 8 to 10 per cent annually in the recent years.

The demand for construction materials in the country is estimated to touch 30 to 33 billion bricks by 2020. Non-fired materials will account for 30 to 40 per cent of these bricks.

Launched on May 29 last year, the project approved by the PM has seen initial results, Director of the project Nguyễn Đình Hậu said at the workshop.

The project has completed training documents for the implementation of 15 training courses this year and next year, and has co-operated with financial organisations to build financial mechanisms for lending, he said.

Meanwhile, according to Bắc, many provinces have released instruction and implementation documents on the management of construction materials, resulting in effective management in localities such as HCM City and Đồng Nai.

However, the consumption of NFBs was facing many difficulties such as the lack of awareness among people about NFB benefits; unstable quality and model of the products; high prices; and economic crisis; besides the lack of preferential policies, Bắc said.

Nguyễn Công Bằng, director of the Lưu Xá Cement Factory in Thái Nguyên Province, which started producing non-fired bricks in January this year and has produced six million bricks so far, also spoke about the province’s difficulties in promoting NFBs.

According to the director, the local people still lacked information about NFBs and their socio-economic and environmental benefits, which limited the consumption of NFBs.

The director said unhealthy competition from low-quality and cheap products, which was hard to control, also affected the makers of genuine products.

The factory director said as NFBs were still new in Việt Nam, supporting policies from the state were needed, particularly regarding investment loans for business operations and tax preferential policies for NFB consumption.

He asked for more vigorous measures for the removal of the traditional fired bricks.

In addition, the director emphasised the importance of boosting communication and education about the benefits of NFBs in the future.

Viet Nam News


Vietnam has low rate of green certificates for products, buildings

The percentage of Vietnam’s businesses having ISO 14000 certificates is below the average level and much lower than that in China.

Such certificates can bring higher incomes. Clams found in the Mekong Delta, for example, have an MSC certificate from the Marine Stewardship Council.

A special rake that selects adult clams and excludes small ones is one of the important tools for Ben Tre’s farmers to get an MSC certificate on sustainable development. The farmers now have high income with the price 30 percent higher than products from other sources.

MSCs, LEED certificates in real estate, FSC in woodwork industry, and ISO 14000 in manufacturing are mostly issued by NGOs and recognized globally.

A research project of UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) found that businesses that carry out eco-innovation obtain 15 percent per annum growth on average.

A survey of 12,000 Vietnamese consumers carried out by Vibiz in 2017 showed that 73.5 percent of consumers were concerned about environmental factors, 80 percent were willing to pay more money to be able to use clean and safe products, 84.5 percent prioritized to use organic products and 91.2 percent spent more money on high-quality products.

Meanwhile, afforestation in accordance with FSC standards can bring great benefits to both farmers and enterprises thanks to stable demand from international woodwork producers, while ISO 14000 helps penetrate the choosy but high-spending EU market.

By the end of the last year, 732 Vietnam businesses had CoC/FSC certificates, the highest number in Southeast Asia. Of these, 49 businesses got FSC/FM for a total area of 226,500 hectares.

In construction, a research project in the US found that new green works increased by 11 percent in value and existing works by 7 percent, while the operation costs fell by 13.6 percent for newly built green works and 8.5 percent for renovated ones.

As green works help save costs on energy, water and maintenance, the American Sustainable Business Council believes that businesses look forward to improving their profits with green strategy.

In Vietnam, Deutsches Haus in HCMC, which got a LEED certificate, has the highest rent in Vietnam and 20 percent higher than other A-class buildings.

However, Nguyen Manh Hung from RMIT Vietnam found that Vietnamese businesses are not interested in green certificates.

“The barriers in costs and the lack of demand are the two major reasons,” Hung said.

Source: Vietnamnet