Vietnam has lost at least 1.5 to 3 percent of its gross domestic products (GDP) to environmental pollution that has been increasing rapidly for many years, says the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
Surface water in most urban areas are polluted with organic substances and Coliform bacteria up to three times higher than levels deemed safe have been found. The sea water in many coastal provinces are contaminated with oil and cyanide, the ministry said Friday at a press conference held to announce the National Environment Report 2010.
The ministry warned against rising noise and air pollution as well as poor collection and treatment of waste, blaming these on shortcomings in environment management and lack of community-based action against pollution.
"Pollution has led to significant harmful consequences, including infectious diseases. In 2010, 80 percent of diarrhea cases were caused by polluted water, mostly in poor communes," the ministry said, adding that there have also been deaths caused by using polluted water.
Water pollution was responsible for six million cases of diseases over the past four years, with treatment costs estimated at around VND400 billion (US$19.5 million), the report said.
A recent survey by the ministry in Phu Tho and Nam Dinh provinces found that a person paid an average of VND295,000 ($14.4) per year for treating diseases caused by air pollution.
Each year, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City loses some $70 million each, including treatment of respiratory diseases due to air pollution and losses caused by other factors like workers being absent from work to tend to sick family members.
The World Bank estimates that Vietnam spends $780 million every year healthcare services related to environment pollution.