World Bank loan to help 4 Vietnam provinces combat industrial pollution

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The World Bank agreed Thursday to provide a loan of US$50 million to police wastewater treatment in four of Vietnam's most industrialized provinces.

The money will be used to enhance monitoring and enforcement of environmental policies at all industrial zones in Nam Dinh and Ha Nam in the north and Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau in the south.

It will include a comprehensive review of the legal and regulatory framework for pollution management, and the construction of at least eight wastewater treatment systems.

It is part of the Industrial Pollution Management Project, which is backed by many donors, to help Vietnam mitigate industrial pollution.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment estimates that industrial zones discharge around one million cubic meters of untreated wastewater, or 70 percent of all industrial effluents, every day directly into water bodies.

Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank's Country Director for Vietnam, said in a press release: "Inadequate regulations, weak enforcement and poor compliance for industrial wastewater treatment reinforce each other to create major environmental risks from Vietnam's industrialization."

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Figures from the bank show industry's share of Vietnam's GDP has gone up from 22.7 percent in 1990 to 41.1 percent, or $42.5 billion, in 2010.

But the rapid industrial development has brought with it serious pollution issues and puts great pressure on natural resources, thus jeopardizing economic growth, it said.

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