World Bank urges Vietnam to fix shortcomings in urban sanitation

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Photo courtesy of the World Bank

Vietnam need to address significant gaps in its sanitation services to sustain economic growth, improve public health and reduce environmental impacts, the World Bank says in its two new reports.

Poor sanitation causes diarrheal disease and increases the risk of disease epidemics such as cholera, the bank says.

Inadequate sanitation is also the cause of environmental pollution and leads to an annual economic loss of 1.3 percent of GDP in Vietnam, it adds.

One of the reports, entitled Vietnam Urban Wastewater Review, focuses on Vietnam’s specific challenges as a result of increasing environmental pollution associated with rapid urbanization.

It evaluates the performance of the wastewater sector in the country and makes key recommendations for the consideration of national policy makers, local governments and service providers.

Hung Duy Le, Senior Urban Specialist and Team Leader for the review, said the Vietnamese government has made considerable progress on the provision of wastewater services in urban areas over the last 20 years and invested nearly $250 million annually in recent years.

“However, keeping pace with rapid urbanization is challenging and it is estimated that $8.3 billion will be required to provide wastewater services to Vietnam’s urban population between now and 2025,” he said.

The other report, entitled East Asia Pacific Region Urban Sanitation Review: Actions Needed, is a regional synthesis of in-depth sector studies in three countries in the East Asia Pacific region – Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

The report also recommends measures that these countries and others in the region can expand and improve urban sanitation services in an inclusive and sustainable way.

Globally, around 2.5 billion people lack adequate sanitation and 660 million of them live in East Asia and the Pacific Region.

“Inadequate sanitation takes a tremendous toll on the quality of peoples’ lives, the environment, and the economy.  But the good news is investments in sanitation yield high returns,” said Charles Feinstein, World Bank Sector Manager for Energy and Water.

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