Ha Noi hopes to improve street lighting system
Over the past two years, Ha Noi’s district authorities have failed to manage the public lighting system in their localities, mainly due to confusion caused by overlaps in responsibility.
By far, the most common issue was the excessive length of time it took to replace broken light bulbs, the municipal administration remarked.
For instance, in Alley 120 of Hoang Mai District’s Hoang Mai Road, whenever a light bulb malfunctions, it often took 3-5 days or even two weeks after the case was reported to the authorities before the bulb was replaced.
Phan Tien Binh, deputy director of the Lighting and Urban Equipment Co Ltd, which is in charge of the bulb replacement, said that when assigned to manage the lighting system, district authorities were too hesitant as they lacked specialised workers.
“When residents report a broken light bulb, we must check whether the road is managed by the company or not. If not, we will report to the district as it is regulated that the bulbs would be replaced under the district’s requirement,” said Binh.
All procedures were based on the municipal people’s committee’s decision 13 issued in 2011, which aimed to better manage the city’s lighting system.
At present, before the managing overlap is resolved, residents can call the company’s hotline – 39740268 – if it takes too long to replace any out-of-order light bulb in their residential area. The company will join hands with local authorities to speed up the repairing process, added Binh.
Le Van Duc, deputy director of the Department of Construction, which is also in charge of the bulb replacement, said the department had proposed that municipal authorities assign one agency to manage the entire lighting system.
To better administer the public lighting system, recently deputy chairman of the municipal people’s committee Nguyen Van Khoi asked the Lighting and Urban Equipment Co Ltd to check all the lighting system management agencies and then report to the Department of Construction.
The department will also be allotted to set up and promulgate regulations that all of newly-built lighting system in residential quarter must be checked by the department, and taken over by the Lighting and Urban Equipment Co Ltd.
HCM City’s public transport system set for expansion
HCM City plans to have 10 urban railway routes, 210 bus routes and six bus rapid transit routes by 2025, according to a plan developed by the Transport Department.
The transport plan, which has been submitted to the municipal People’s Committee for approval, said that there would be three kinds of bus routes: main axis, branch and collection.
Main axis routes will run on the city’s major transport corridors, while branch routes will connect the centre of areas with main axis routes.
Collection routes will run on small roads and alleys to collect passengers. Small-size buses will be used for these routes.
The different routes are needed because the city has many alleys and residential areas of different sizes, according to Duong Hong Thanh, deputy director of the Transport Department.
Of the ten urban railway routes, five will depart from the city centre to all major gateways.
The city will also have three tram routes that will link city centre areas.
The plan calls for subsidy policies for a public transport system. Top priorities will be given to a land fund for transport development, according to Thanh.
The land fund, which is about 1,873,000sq.m, will be used to build public-transport facilities, including bus and taxis stations.
The city’s Department of Transport has also petitioned the Transport Ministry to issue criteria to build lanes used only for buses.
Based on the criteria, the city will set up bus lanes to increase service quality.
The HCM City bus system authority plans to offer ethics courses to drivers and cashiers in a move to attract more city residents to the most popular means of public transport.
The new courses, organised by the city Management and Control Centre for Public Passenger Transportation, aim to train drivers and cashiers to behave properly to passengers.
In a survey conducted by the centre last year, 24.6 per cent of passengers said they did not feel comfortable with bus staff.
Commuters in the city described buses as a “street evil,” saying drivers went too fast and neglected to stick to the schedule.
Buses have been involved in many accidents in the city, the surveyed stressed.
Le Hai Phong, director of the centre, said that convincing city dwellers that bus employees will treat them responsibly will encourage more to opt for public transit.
He said the centre had already worked with private bus companies to offer such courses last year, but results from the training had not really taken effect.
Phong said the training would be implemented simultaneously with new ethics code compliance agreements between businesses, drivers and cashiers.
The centre also plans to invest in more new vehicles and upgrade bus stations and electronic timetables.
While a monorail and metro system are under construction, buses will remain the major means of public transport until they are completed in 2020, according to the city Transport Department.
Labelling, trademarks key to ensuring safe poultry
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has ordered the northern province of Bac Giang to maintain the safe trademark for Yen The chickens while trading them to Ha Noi, as a way to combat illegally-smuggled poultry.
The instruction was delivered after Nhan led a government working team to check the model of chicken farming and trading in the province yesterday.
The model was developed after the nation, particularly big cities, was flooded with discarded chickens brought illegally from China and feared to be unhealthy for consumers.
The chickens, which were the first of their kind with clear labelling and safe packaging, have been distributed to a number of supermarkets in Ha Noi.
Over the past three months, around 3 million chickens, or 40 tonnes per day, have been supplied to city dwellers.
Nhan asked the province to step by step expand the business under the current process in order to build trust with customers.
Nhan also suggested that the Yen The chicken products be diversified so that they cater to customers’ demands.
Nhan and representatives from the relevant ministries and agencies undertook field work to supervise the Yen The chicken products in 20 supermarkets and shops in Ha Noi.
According to the agriculture ministry’s Animal Health Department official, Hoang Kim Giao, six months ago Ha Noi was receiving nearly 100 tonnes of discarded chickens smuggled from mainland China each day.
Ninety per cent of the tested chickens contained residues of anti-biotics, which could be harmful to customers’ health, while nearly half of them carried the flu virus.
The situation was brought under control now thanks to efforts to control smuggling from border gates and at inner city markets, as well as the development of the safe chickens model.
Workers’ difficulties need attention
When workers have problems – whether they relate to employment or life in general – the issues must be resolved in a timely manner, said Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Addressing the meeting yesterday with the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour, Dung hailed the many great contributions to the country’s 2012 socio-economic development by workers and trade unions of all levels.
The coordination between the Government and the confederation last year was very close and effective, Dung noted, and it should be further strengthened in 2013.
He cited the considerable reduction of labour disputes and strikes (down 44 percent against 2011) as proof of the smooth coordination between the two sides.
The PM and leaders of ministries and agencies also voiced their opinions on proposals by the confederation, which focused on workers, trade unions, labour safety and hygiene, as well as providing workers in industrial zones with cultural experiences.
New loans to help the needy
About 1.5 million households in Viet Nam who are living near the poverty line will soon be able to access preferential loans from the Government.
Under Decision 15/2013/QD-TTg signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung last Saturday, loans for these households will accompany an interest rate of 0.85 per cent per month and more than 10 per cent a year.
The rate is set to be equivalent to 130 per cent of the rate offered to poor households.
Under the standards set for the period 2011-15, near-poor households include those with a monthly income of VND401,000 – VND 520,000 (US$19 – $25) in rural areas and VND501,000- VND650,000 ($24 – $31) in urban areas.
Those who have the lower income are designated as poor households.
The decision also asks the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP), which is channeling the loans, to make plans to ensure annual capital for the preferential loans.
“The need for preferential loans for near-poor households is no different to the need for these loans for poor household,” said VBSP’s deputy general director, Nguyen Van Ly.
“However, we could not meet this demand in previous years due to difficulties in the economy so only poor households got the loans,” he added.
The VBSP started to provide preferential loans to poor households in 2009.
“The new policy will help near-poor households to have capital to invest in business and production to improve their family finances, and prevent them from falling back into poverty again,” Ly said.
The new policy will take effect from April 16, 2013.
Heroin smuggler arrested at airport
A man hoping to board a flight to Australia from HCM City on Sunday was arrested by customs officers at Tan Son Nhat International Airport for heroin smuggling.
The Vietnamese national, Tran Minh Dat, was searched by the airport officers while he was checking-in for his flight. He was found to be in possession of 3 kilo of heroin.
The drugs, concealed in 12 nylon bags which were covered with a yellow layer of sticking-plaster, were tested to be positive for heroin, according to local police.
The suspect was handed over to the local police for further investigation.
Over 20 hydropower projects removed in Kon Tum
The People’s Committee in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum decided to decommission 21 hydropower plants today.
Located in the districts of Kon Plong, Dak Glei, Dak Ha, Sa Thay, Ngoc Hoi and Tu Mo Rong, the plants have a total capacity of nearly 70MW.
Most are inefficient, while some occupy too much forestland.
The province was left with 48 small and medium hydropower plants with total capacity of around 500MW.
Asia News Network logo contest launched
The Asia News Network (ANN) launches its logo contest with the theme “Emerging Asia” to reflect the region’s expanding role on the global stage.
The logo contest is the first of its kind undertaken by the world’s largest newspaper network and will award the major winner US$3,000.
The first round of the contest will involve an online voting where 20 finalists will be chosen for the final round. Editors and select art directors from ANN will comprise the judges for the final round, to be held at the annual board meeting in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in late April. The winner will be announced on April 30, 2013.
For more details on the contest, visit www.asianewsnet.net/logocontest. Submission of entries is from March 1-31, 2013.
ANN, an alliance of 22 newspapers in the region including Viet Nam News, was launched in 1999. Aside from its website and news services, it also publishes AsiaNews magazine, which will go digital later this year.
Wood store fire in Thai Binh extinguished
A fire broke out last night in a wood store at the Bitexco Nam Long Wood Processing Factory in Thai Binh Province, blazing for eight hours before it was finally extinguished at around 5am today.
The flames rose over 10 metres high and destroyed thousands of cubic metres of wood stocks and products but no deaths were reported.
Hundreds of local firefighters and policemen, along with seven fire trucks were mobilised to tackle the blaze, said Tran Xuan Tuyet, director of Thai Binh Police.
In addition, two trucks and around 10 firefighters from neighbouring Nam Dinh Province were called in to support the effort.
One witnesses at the scene, Ha Thi Thiem, said she heard several big explosions and then saw fire spreading from the factory.
Hundreds of people living nearby were left alarmed and displaced from their homes as the blaze intensified, while many residential areas were without power.
The cost of damage to these properties has yet to be revealed and local authorities are investigating the case.
Vaccine shortfall in Da Nang
Thousands of infants in Da Nang had to return without receiving their scheduled vaccinations on Monday because the central city had underestimated the quantity of vaccines needed.
The city’s Preventive Health Centre said that its estimation of the number of children that would need to be vaccinated this month had been wrong because the number of births last Lunar Year, considered a particularly auspicious one to have babies, was higher than expected.
On February 25, thousands of mothers in the city were informed of a vaccine shortage when they brought their babies to health clinics in the city’s districts, wards and communes for vaccinations.
At a health clinic in Thanh Khe District’s Thanh Khe Tay Ward, more than 40 infants returned home without getting their vaccinations.
Tran Thi Hanh had brought her month-old baby to get a vaccination for tuberculosis, but a nurse told her that the clinic had run out of that vaccine.
The situation was the same at another clinic in the district’s Tan Chinh Ward.
The city is experiencing a shortage of the 5-in-1 vaccine that inoculates babies against diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis type B, and hib (Haemophilus type b), as well as vaccines for tuberculosis and polio vaccine.
Dr Tran Bao Ngoc, secretary of the city’s vaccine programme, said it lacks 100 doses of tuberculosis vaccine, and 1,100 doses each of the 5-in-1 and polio vaccines.
The city had estimated that around 16,000 infants would be born in 2012, but the actual number was more than 20,000, leading to the vaccine shortage at the beginning of this year, Ngoc said.
However, the city will have enough vaccines for infants next month because the Ministry of Health’s Preventive Health Department has asked the Institute of Vaccines and Medical Biologicals in the central region to arrange for sufficient supplies, said department director Nguyen Van Binh.
Dr Nguyen Tran Hien, head of the national vaccine programme, confirmed that the country did not lack vaccines and had enough in stock to meet the needs of all infants.
Blue-ear disease, avian flu pose rising threat to farms
Four provinces nation-wide are taking urgent measures to curb blue-ear disease, which has infected around 5,000 pigs over the past months.
Provinces with blue-ear pig diseases are Bac Lieu and Long An in the south and Quang Nam and Quang Tri in the central region.
Bird flu has been reported in Quang Nam Province’s Phu Ninh District, resulting in 300 chickens being culled on Sunday.
The lethal H5N1 bird flu virus has also affected 350 schools in northern mountainous Dien Bien Province earlier last week.
Health officials warn that people are likely to contract bird flu if they have close contact with sick poultry, including slaughtering and eating them.
The virus claimed 61 lives in Viet Nam between 2003 to this year, with most of the deaths in 2003 and 2004, according to the World Health Organisation’s latest report
Local animal health departments have co-operated with authorised agencies to destroy infected pigs, spray chemicals to sterilise pig farms and nearby areas, vaccinate against blue-ear pig disease for healthy pigs, and advise pig breeders not to slaughter, transport and trade infected pigs.
Nguyen Thanh Nam, head of central Quang Nam Province’s Animal Health Department, said a mobile team was set up to inspect and deal with slaughtering, transporting and trading pigs and pig products round the clock.
It was estimated that more than 4,200 of 500,000 pigs in the province had contracted the disease, he said.
Meanwhile, up till last night 680 pigs were reported to be infected with blue-ear pig disease within one week in central Quang Tri Province.
Pigs of unclear origin raised by local breeders have been blamed for the outbreak.
The province has distributed 18,600 vaccines against blue-ear pig disease to bring the situation under control.
Scientists say blue ear disease does not infect humans but can reduce the immunity of pigs, creating favourable condition for dangerous bacteria to grow, including Streptococcus.
Streptococcus disease can spread from pigs to humans and cause septicemia and meningitis.
Jobs to be advertised at HCM City bus stations
More than 3,000 vacancies offered by 100 enterprises were introduced to job seekers at four major inter-provincial bus stations in HCM City under a programme to help workers find suitable jobs.
The “Support Workers” programme, which was launched on Monday, provides free job consultancy and introductions to labourers from different provinces travelling to HCM City to find employment opportunities.
More than 100 participating enterprises in various sectors offered around 3,000 jobs with monthly salaries ranging from VND2.5 million to VND7 million, which were introduced directly to job seekers by volunteers at Mien Dong, Mien Tay, An Suong and Nga Tu Ga coach stations.
Jobs in places like Japan, Malaysia, Dubai and Singapore, with monthly salaries ranging from VND8 million to VND50 million, were also introduced to the workers.
Information on boarding houses and motorbike taxi services with reasonable prizes were printed on leaflets distributed to job seekers.
The programme, which will run throughout the year, aims to help workers find suitable jobs in the city without being cheated by mediators at bus stations, said Nguyen Tri Quang, director of the Youth Employment Services Centre, organiser of the programme.
More than 6,400 enterprises have so far participated in the programme, which has introduced jobs to nearly 32,600 workers over the last two years.
Rabies outbreak hits Lao Cai
The northern Lao Cai provincial Department of Animal Health has placed two districts on high alert for rabies after a number of people were bitten by dogs suspected to be rabid.
The move comes after a total of 24 people in Bao Yen and Bao Thang districts were reportedly bitten in the last six weeks. One man from Bao Yen District died of rabies, while the remaining 23 people have received rabies vaccines since being bitten.
Director of the Lao Cai Department of Health Nong Tien Cuong said the number of people being bitten was on the rise.
Nearly 30 people in the province were bitten by rabid dogs last year and three died from rabies after not reporting their bites to medical workers, meaning they did not receive the vaccine.
Earlier in 2010, more than 30 people were bitten by dogs suspected to be rabid in Muong Khuong and Si Ma Cai districts.
Cuong blamed the increase on residents’ lack of awareness for preventing rabies.
“Medical workers encouraged local residents to give vaccine injections to their dogs and cats, but they are still subjective,” he said.
Residents often let their dogs wander and bite indiscriminately, he said, adding that when bitten, people did not visit medical stations to receive treatment.
The wide number of rural areas in the province made it difficult for medical workers to supervise all dogs and cats, he said.
To halt the growing number of cases, the Lao Cai Department of Animal Health has issued 16,500 doses of the rabies vaccine to inject dogs in the two districts affected.
The provincial People’s Committee issued an urgent document asking districts and cities to vaccinate all dogs, monitor the situation and force people bitten by dogs and cats to be vaccinated.
There are approximately 10,000 dogs in the province, according to statistics from the provincial department of animal health.
Associate professor Dinh Kim Xuyen, former director of the Ministry of Health’s rabies prevention project, said the disease often takes a long time to become apparent, thus residents are careless and do not seek the vaccine quickly enough after being bitten by dogs or cats.
To control the disease, dogs should be injected, she said, and advised people bitten by a dog to supervise the dog for 10 days. If it refuses to eat and becomes cruel, the people who have been bitten should obtain the rabies vaccine, she added.
Vietnam to raise retirement age of female laborers
Duong Quoc Trong, General Director of General Office for Population and Family Planning under the Ministry of Health said at a seminar that most developed countries have their retirement age set at 65, and more importantly, men and women usually have the same retirement age.
The seminar was held on February 27 in Hanoi by Vietnam General Federation of Labor to discuss the retirement age of female laborers in sustainable development and integration with the world.
Most developed countries have their retirement age set at 65 because population ageing occurs in the world and female laborers in the fields of science, medicines and education are brimful of creativity.
At present, the retirement age for men is 60 years and for women it is 55 years, under normal circumstances in Vietnam. The country should raise the retirement age of female to eradicate the discrimination between male and female laborers.
Ho Chi Minh City bids farewell to new soldiers
Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee Le Thanh Hai encourages new soldiers at the farewell ceremony on Feb 27, 2013 (Photo: SGGP)
The Ho Chi Minh City High Command and local authorities ofThu Duc District held a ceremony on February 27 to say farewell to soldiers registering for the January round of this year.
Senior lieutenant-colonel Nguyen Dai Duong of Naval Brigade 957 welcomed 220 soldiers to various naval units while showing his excitement at their enthusiasm.
He commented at the ceremony that it was the army which was the ideal place to train the young to become useful and faithful citizens in accordance with Uncle Ho’s guidance.
Party member Nguyen Ngoc Thuan, representative of these new soldiers, delivered an appreciation speech and promised to do their utmost in the training time to successfully fulfill their future mission.
Other districts in Ho Chi Minh City such as District 3, District 5, District 9, District 12, Go Vap, Tan Binh, Tan Phu, Cu Chi, Hoc Mon, Binh Chanh, and Can Gio Districts also organized a similar ceremony for new soldiers registering for the January 2013 round. Most of them are in healthy condition and high educational background, with 99 party members and 532 graduates from universities or colleges.
Le Thanh Hai, member of the Politburo and Secretary of the HCMC Party Committee; Major-General Phan Tan Tai, Deputy Commander of the Military Zone 7; Major-General Truong Van Hai, Commander of the City High Command; and Duong Quang Ha, Chairman of HCMC Fatherland Front Committee took part in the ceremony in Thu Duc District.
Lieutenant general Tran Don, Commander of the Military Zone 7, represented the local government of the southern province of Tay Ninh to bid farewell to 250 new soldiers on February 27.
1,550 young people from Nhon Trach, Long Thanh, Cam My, Trang Bom, Tan Phu, and Vinh Cuu Districts in the southern province of Dong Nai gathered in Trang Bom District to participate in the send-off ceremony.
Major-General Tran Van Hung, Deputy Commissar of the Military Zone 7 and Dinh Quoc Thai, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Dong Nai Province delivered their encouragement along with presents for around 275 new soldiers. As reported by local authorities, the quality of these soldiers is quite high in many aspects such as health, politics, and education.
The highland province of Lam Dong hosted a welcome ceremony for 650 young soldiers from its six districts to train in five units of the Military Zone 7 and the Vietnamese Military Academy of Dalat located in the area.
In the January 2013 round, there are 9,500 people in the nine provinces of the Military Zone 7 joining the army. Around 1,481 of them are university or college graduates and 2,550 are high school graduates. The others are of high school levels.
Many areas of the highland province of Kon Tum hosted farewell or welcome ceremonies for 450 new soldiers of the January 2013 round. This year, they will be trained in Regiment 990 (of Kon Tum Military Headquarter), Air Defense Brigade 573 (of the Military Zone 5), and the Headquarter of the Kon Tum Border Guard.
Among these soldiers are 313 people from ethnic minorities (accounting for 69.6 percent). 12 of them are party members, 76 are members of the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union, 150 are high school graduates, and 282 are junior high graduates.
The high land province of Dak Lak also held a welcome ceremony for 1,500 new soldiers to train in its 6 districts of Lak, Cu M’gar, Ea Sup, Buon Don, Ea Kar, Krong Bong, and Buon Ma Thuot City.
All of them have good politic background and health history, are members of the party or the Ho Chi Minh Youth Union. 99.4 percent of them are high school or junior high graduates and 5 college graduates. More than 25 percent of them are from local ethnic minorities.
The high land province of Dak Nong organized a ceremony on February 27 to bid farewell to 450 new soldiers of the January 2013 round coming from Krong No, Cu Jut, and Dak Mil districts. Most of them are very young and healthy (around 70 percent).
UNDP assists Vietnam in sustainable poverty reduction
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in coordination with the Republic Ireland has engaged in a project to help Vietnam in sustainable poverty reduction during the period of 2012-2016.
The project’s concrete objective is to support the implementation of the Vietnamese Government’s Resolution 80/NQ-CP on directions of sustainable poverty reduction (2011-2020) and the National Target Programme on Sustainable Poverty Reduction (2011-2015). It targets eight pilot provinces of Ha Giang, Dien Bien, Cao Bang and Bac Kan in the north, Thanh Hoa and Quang Ngai in the central region, Kon Tum in the Central Highlands and the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh .
Through encouraging the involvement of the poor and intensifying the implementation and management of programmes and policies on poverty reduction, the project is expected to contribute to accelerating poverty reduction in the poorest and ethnic minority regions.
Last year, over 50 percent of ethnic minorities in Vietnam lived under the poverty line, of which 31 percent faced food shortage.
Poverty reduction rates in the fields of education, healthcare, fresh water, hygiene and housing in ethnic minority areas have lagged behind the country’s average.
Issued in 2011, the resolution aims to reduce the rate of poor households by 4 percent per annum with the focus on the most disadvantaged regions nationwide.
Vietnamese private universities face closure for lack of students
Many private colleges and universities are facing the risk of closure due to failure to fill student quotas.
A representative from the Hanoi Department of Propaganda and Training said the quality of students attending private universities largely remains low. The majority of private schools lack adequate training facilities and are incapable of meeting students’ demands. The quality of graduates of private learning institutions also remains below that of public ones, he said, adding that this is the reason for their enrollment problems.
By the end of 2012, Vietnam had 81 private colleges and universities, accounting for 14% of graduates. Few of them achieved their enrollment quotas, with most reaching between 30% and 60% of their targets. Many fell even shorter.
Recently the Vietnam Private Universities Association (VIPUA) submitted a petition to the prime minister on their critical situation, seeking intervention from the government.
The VIPUA claims that public higher education institutions are at the root of the problem because they have been allowed to set their own enrollment targets. VIPUA claims that it was a result of these policies that a record high number of 504,000 began attending public schools instead of private ones last year.
According to Tran Hong Quan, Chairman of VIPUA, besides, the ministry’s current regulations also affected the student recruitment at private universities. Each year about 500,000 potential students are prevented from attending university because of low scores on entrance exams. Quan said this is a waste and that many of these students study abroad instead, or attend foreign-invested universities in Vietnam where the only requirement is a high school diploma.
Nguyen Manh Hung, President of Hong Bang University International, said, “It is necessary to apply different requirements for public and private universities.”
Professor Dang Ung Van, Principle of Hoa Binh University, said private universities should be allowed to recruit students with just a high school diploma and that public schools should maintain their exam requirements. He also suggested implementing a two-tiered system that would put students into two categories: one for those with low marks and another who scored high on their exams.
According to a representative from the Hanoi Department of Propaganda and Training, it is essential to tighten control over the establishment of private universities by issuing regulations on their operation, suspension or dissolution.
Water in short supply, international workshop warns
Efforts are needed to protect and use water resources sustainably or the world will run short of water for use, delegates warned at an international workshop in Hanoi on February 26.
In his report, Prof. Pham Quy Nhan, Deputy Director of the Vietnam Centre for Water Resource Management and Planning, pointed to the fact that humankind is facing numerous challenges, especially water resource degradation in terms of quality and quantity.
He called on countries to take immediate action to preserve water resources for future use.
Other speakers from the Southeast Asian region presented underground water-related issues which are of great significance for Vietnam.
They made an in-depth analysis of recent land subsidence cases in Cambodia and China or salt infiltration in Indonesia, which were all similar to those recorded in Vietnam.
They worked out solutions to these phenomena to effectively manage and use underground water resources.
Delegates examined the implementation of an internationally funded underground water management project’s second phase, undertaken by the Vietnam Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Coastal and Offshore Geoscience Programmes in East and Southeast Asia (CCOP) Council.
Its second phase was carried out from February 2010 to March 2013 with the participation of 11 countries including Japan, China, the Republic of Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam.
It aimed to expand Vietnam’s resource management capacity as well as to promote cooperation, information sharing, and technology transfer in the region.
The first phase of the project, implemented from February 2005 to March 2009 and involving nine countries, focused on evaluating underground water resources using geo-monitoring systems.
Wastes classification plan piloted again
HCMC will continue to pilot the program of wastes classification at enterprises, restaurants, hotels and Co.opmart supermarkets, as well as in residential areas in District 1 and Binh Thanh District, despite failures in previous schemes.
An official of the HCMC Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that apart from service facilities, some 130 households in Binh Thanh District and another 130 in District 1 would join the wastes classification scheme this time.
If the program works, it will be expanded to other districts, said Nguyen Trung Viet, director of the Office of Solid Waste Management under the department.
With this year’s program, Japan’s Hitachi Zosen will provide trash bins and trolleys used to collect wastes from households. Besides, Hitachi Zosen is also collecting data in preparation for construction of a waste incinerating plant which can produce power in HCMC in the coming time.
According to Viet, HCMC discharges 10,000-11,000 tons of solid wastes everyday, with domestic wastes accounting for around 7,500 tons. If wastes at households can be classified, HCMC can reuse 90-95% of solid wastes, with 70% used to generate energy and produce compost and bio-fertilizer.
Between 1999 and 2012, HCMC carried out three wastes classification programs which all failed. The failure resulted from inadequate investments in the classification system, from trash bins and dump trucks having separate compartments meeting classifying and recycling requirements.
The first waste classification program starting in 1999 and ending in 2001 was carried out at households in District 5 with a cost of US$5,000 funded by the European Union (EU). After that, EU continued to fund another program in District 5 in the 2002-2007 period.
The program piloted in District 6 in 2001 also ended in failure in late 2009.
Due to a shortage of vehicles collecting different types of wastes, wastes classified at households were then mixed at dumpsites. Besides, investors lacked capital and thus failed to develop plants producing compost and bio-fertilizer.
Doctors offer free health care to Cambodians
A group of Vietnamese doctors offered free health check-ups and treatment to nearly 7,000 needy locals in Cambodia’s northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey on February 27-28.
The delegation, led by former Health Minister Tran Thi Trung Chien, was also joined by 100 doctors from HCM City and Chak Angre Phnom Penh hospital.
Le Ba Hung, Director of the Chak Angre Phnom Penh hospital said many locals suffering from serious diseases, like cerebral vascular stroke, rheumatism and blood pressure have been diagnosed and treated.
Poor people in the area going to medical check-ups also received rice, rice noodles and daily necessities.
Khmer-VN friendship school opened in Cambodia
A Khmer-Vietnam Friendship primary school was inaugurated in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province on February 27 to enable children in far-flung areas in the locality to get access to education.
The two-classroom wooden school, funded by Vietnam ’s Southern Television Station, is rested on the Tonle Sap Lake in remote Ta Neang village, Kongpong Khleng commune, where children yet reach any forms of education.
Lessons at the school will be first taught on Vietnamese and later on Khmer language as the village is home to both overseas Vietnamese and Cambodians.
Chairman of Kongpong Khleng communal People’s Council Touch Sothia praised Vietnamese donors’ assistance given no school was ever built in the area.
At the inauguration ceremony, Vietnamese donors presented clothes, books and utensils to overseas Vietnamese and poor Cambodians living in the village.