Half of the tourist boats on Ha Long Bay may be put out of business next month for failing to install compulsory onboard waste treatment systems.
Quang Ninh Province has announced that it will ban all boats at the world’s natural wonder that do not have oily waste separators by the end of this month. Only 290 of the 530 boats here have managed to install the equipment.
Boat owners said the technology provided by the provincial transport department costs as much as VND18-19 million (US$852) per boat. They also said its effectiveness has not been confirmed.
Oily water separator is used to separate oil from the waste water resulting from shipboard operations including oil leaks from running machinery such as diesel generators and air compressors.
Ha Long Bay, which is a UNESCO heritage site, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Vietnam. But tourism activities have severely threatened the water quality.
The province expected to earn VND6.5 trillion ($292.2 million) from tourism this year.
More than 36 million tourists have visited Quang Ninh for the past five years, with an annual increase of 7.4 percent. A third of the tourists were foreigners.