NHA TRANG (VNS) - A conference on the prevention of, and speedy response to, the release of harmful toxic chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB, was held last week.
The talks were convened in Nha Trang City in the coastal central province of Khanh Hoa.
Speaking at the meeting, Head of the Viet Nam Environment Administration and Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Bui Cach Tuyen, stressed the importance of environmental protection in the context of rapid socio-economic development.
"Environmental protection practices have not been effective in recent years, despite the implementation of numerous regulations and procedures to guide the nation's efforts to prevent, react to and resolve environmental incidents," Tuyen said.
He noted that organisations and enterprises had not paid enough attention to prevent such incidents, which, in turn, led to significant setbacks in the nation's socio-economic development.
Other factors, such as limited human and financial resources and lack of co-operation among agencies, also hindered the effectiveness of efforts towards protecting the environment.
The deputy minister pointed out that agencies should step up efforts to co-operate and monitor organisations and enterprises to improve environmental awareness and build eco-friendly business models, especially after the implementation of the nation's Law on Environmental Protection that came into effect on January 1 this year.
"The government is in the process of framing policies and mechanisms to improve the effectiveness and feasibility of practices aimed at preventing and acting in case of environmental incidents," he affirmed.
Furthermore, Head of Khanh Hoa Province's Environment Administration Nguyen Thi Nguyet Ha said that the growing economy of the province, which was a result of increased industrial and tourism activities, indicated that effective prevention, mitigation and resolution of environmental incidents was a top priority for Khanh Hoa.
Faced with the growing threat of environmental mishaps, the province has boosted efforts towards improving the preparedness of agencies and forces to prevent, react to and resolve possible environmental incidents.
Moreover, legal experts and business representatives from Unilever and DuPont also shared their experience in dealing with such incidents and contributed to the discussion at the conference.
On January 29, 2002, the Uni Raya Glory ship from Singapore sank near the province's Van Phong Bay, spilling more than 120 tonnes of oil and other toxins.
In 2007, unidentified oil slicks appeared near the province's Cam Ranh Bay and other locations.
In 2014, oil slicks were spotted near the location where two vessels collided, identified as Phuc Xuan 68 and Nam Vy 69.
The province has mobilised its local police, border patrol forces and residents to ensure quick response to incidents. Parties that cause such occurrences will be held responsible and fined accordingly, according to local officials.