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Untreated waste on Phu Quoc sparks concern

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CAN THO – Phu Quoc Island off the southern province of Kien Giang has been a tourist hotspot of the Mekong Delta region, but waste treatment on this island remains an environmental issue.

Statistics of Kien Giang Province indicated that the province welcomed 1.9 million tourists in January-June, a 56.4% decline against the same period the previous year. Besides, the tourism revenue during the period dropped by 63% year-on-year to some VND3,600 billion.

Despite the declining tourist arrivals and revenue as a result of Covid-19, Phu Quoc remained attractive in the eyes of tourism investors. Of the 15 tourism projects in Kien Giang Province in the year’s first half, 12 projects whose combined investments are over VND11,800 billion are on Phu Quoc Island.

Kien Giang currently has 315 projects in the tourism sector with total investments of more than VND307,000 billion. Of these, 69 projects worth VND14,000 billion have been put into service, 76 projects worth VND165,000 billion are being implemented and 170 projects worth VND167,000 billion are undergoing investment procedures.

Phu Quoc alone accounts for as many as 271 projects in Kien Giang, indicative of the unique role of the island. Such projects have combined investments of some VND341,000 billion.

However, the issue of environmental pollution caused by untreated waste on this island is only getting worse.

In the planning toward 2030 as decided by the Prime Minister, Phu Quoc is set to grow sustainably with a balance between economic development and historic preservation and become a tourism-service hub of the country.

As stated by Phu Quoc’s natural resources and environment division in a recent report, environmental protection needs to be aimed for and is crucial to the island’s sustainable development. Investments in such a field are prioritized.

Nonetheless, according to the division, rapid economic development has resulted in environmental problems, particularly pollution caused by waste and wastewater.

Though investments in environmental protection works play an important part, the implementation progress is slow, the report pointed out.

In particular, while many economic development projects have been operational, only one solid water treatment plant has been built but has stopped working due to inefficiency.

By Trung Chanh

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