Saltwater Advances in the Mekong Delta

This week that the Mekong Delta, Vietnam’s main rice growing region, is being gradually contaminated by salt water moving inland due to the ongoing drought, which in turn is caused mainly by El Nino. Already, 200 000 tons of rice have been damaged. Relief will come with the end of El Nino, which should bring more freshwater to the delta.

Industrial zones polluting water with chemicals

Many industrial zones nationwide failed to operate their waste treatment systems properly and have dumped large amounts of industrial waste with high levels of toxic chemicals into the environment, according to Dr Le Trinh, from Viet Nam Environmental Science and Development Institute.

Trinh said industrial waste and wastewater were major contributors to environmental pollution.

Industrial and urban wastewater has caused serious water pollution in many channels in HCM City, including the Tham Luong, Ba Bo and An Ha channels, according to the institute.

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta faces most serious drought, salinization in 90 years

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is facing the most severe drought and salinization in nearly a century, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The serious conditions have occurred only once in the last 90 years, the ministry said at the conference in Can Tho City on Wednesday.
Prompt and assertive measures must be applied in order to prevent the heavy damage brought about by drought and salinization in order to ensure the lives and production of local citizens, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc remarked at the meeting.
The deputy premier ordered competent authorities to prioritize a financial support plan for the localities in the delta for speedy approval by the prime minister.

Environment Ministry worried for mineral overexploitation in Delta

Plans to evaluate mineral reserves and marine natural resources and to help residents better adapt to climate change nationwide – especially in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region, the area predicted to suffer the most from climate change – are high up on the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s agenda this year.

Minister Nguyen Minh Quang announced the priorities at a recent press conference to outline the environment sector’s targets this year.

Quang said the country’s natural resources were expected to be effectively managed when the detailed evaluation was released. At present, the country was facing many environmental issues triggered by the overexploitation of minerals.

What a New Vietnam-Russia Deal Says About the Mekong’s Future

It is potentially an unusual business transaction. While the prospect of a Vietnamese company taking over a Russian group in of itself is unusual, the buyout of a strategic stake in a major fish distributor is also a reflection of changing attitudes to the management of the Mekong River.

Food security is the priority issue dominating the political agenda surrounding the lower Mekong subregion for the Vietnamese and Cambodian governments. It’s a stark contrast to thinking in Laos, which sees the Mekong primarily through the lens of hydropower.

Coal Power on the Rise: Mekong Region Digs In

While initiatives by the Asian Development Bank, ASEAN, United States, Japan, France and the private sector aim to advance renewable energy within the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), coal-fired power plants are slated to become an increasingly larger share of the region’s electricity generating portfolio.

Vietnam Plans Move Away From Coal

Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has announced his government’s intention to “review development plans of all new coal plants and halt any new coal power development.”

According to Solarplaza, the Premier stated that Vietnam needs to “responsibly implement all international commitments in cutting down greenhouse gas emissions; and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.”

The announcement comes in advance of the Solar PV Trade Mission, scheduled April 18 – 22 in Hanoi and Bangkok. It is hoped the trade missions will assemble diverse high-level delegations of stakeholders from around the world into emerging markets to jointly explore and create business development opportunities.

Author Q&A: How communities struggling with climate and development are “Living with the Mekong”

The richly illustrated book Living with the Mekong provides readers with insights into urban developments in one of the world’s most threatened deltas. According to the author, the book gives a personal account of “how Vietnam and the Vietnamese people cope with the consequences of climate change.” Joep Janssen, a Dutch urban delta expert, travelled through the Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City area researching the impacts of climate change and development on farmers and urban inhabitants. The Mekong Eye talked to Joep, via email, about urbanization, climate change, development, and how decision makers in the Mekong region might learn from the Dutch experience.

Thermopower plants’ fate questionable as Vietnam tries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) has assigned the Energy Institute to adjust the seventh electricity generation development plan (PDP 7) before being submitted to the Prime Minister for approval.

Experts have repeatedly warned that the forecast demand and the required investment capital are high, which will put a heavy burden on the national economy.

However, there is another reason cited to adjust PDP 7: the plan does not show appropriate attention to sustainable development in electricity generation. With the plan, Vietnam will still heavily rely on coal thermopower plants.

An Khe hydropower plant killing Ba River

The Ba section river which runs across Gia Lai is turning into a ‘dead river’ since the An Khe – Ka Nak hydropower plant began operation. It is becoming depleted as the plant stores water on the upper course to generate electricity. It is also polluted by the waste water discharged from tens of workshops and factories.