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Environmental protection at center of development

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HANOI – Environmental protection will be put at the center of development, according to a draft on the amended Environmental Protection Law that Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha presented to the National Assembly at a meeting today, May 26.

Ha said the environment will not be sacrificed for economic development and there should be stricter regulations to protect the environment.

According to the minister, the current Law on Environmental Protection has exposed shortcomings, is not able to catch up with new changes and has redundant procedures. Therefore, it needs to be amended to ensure strict and effective environmental protection in the coming time.

“Environmental pollution in the country is becoming worse. There have been severe environmental disasters in recent years, requiring changes to environmental protection policies and tighter control over large projects that pose a high risk of environmental pollution,” Ha noted.

The amended draft law eliminates over 40% of administrative procedures related to environmental management and reduces the time needed for handling administrative procedures to 20-75 days, helping businesses reduce costs and save time.

The draft law also has new regulations in place on the protection of air, water and soil environments; identifies waste as resources; supplements regulations on classifying solid waste and collecting, treating and recycling waste; and encourages the development and application of environmentally friendly technologies.

Phan Xuan Dung, head of the Science, Technology and Environment Committee of the National Assembly, stated that the committee agrees with the necessity of amending the Environmental Protection Law. He added that the amended law should ensure stricter and more effective protection of the environment but must not hamper economic growth.

Regulations on environmental protection should align with international laws and comply with free trade agreements that Vietnam has signed but must be suitable for the country’s specific conditions. Therefore, more comprehensive assessments are needed to ensure the feasibility of the draft law.

Dung proposed more detailed criteria for four levels of environmental problems: low, medium, high and disaster. In addition, accountability for preventing and responding to environmental problems must be made clear among the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and other ministries.

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