Thursday, August 16, 2007

Environment Protection in Vietnam

A lot of travelers (or expats) complain about the lack of environmental protection demonstrated in Vietnam. Never mind that, like virtually all low or middle income countries, the per capita environmental damage is much lower here than in high income countries (of which these foreigners are from).

Environmental protection is not just about carbon output, I know, but if one measures using this currently favored metric, that flight to Vietnam is worse than what most locals could do in a year. Same for those quick weekend jaunts on Air Asia for some sun and sand.

Or course this does not even touch upon past environmental damage. The industrial revolution was not exactly kind to Mother Earth; a great philosophical debate is underway as to the propriety of those countries that have benefited from unchecked industrial development to turn around and constrain the industrial development of countries (such as India) that are undergoing their own revolution two centuries later.

But enough about that - this post is more about the government's recent policy to ban water skis in Ha Long Bay. What a great idea, and about time. When we were there last year, the water skis out and about were kind of a hassle when we were swimming in the bay.

This policy action was spurred, in part, from the government's desire to keep the Ha Long's UNESCO stamp of approval. Even in a high income country like Japan, lack of environmental care for the area around Mount Fuji has prevented this source of Japanese pride to be granted UNESCO status. I didn't know people care so much about the opinions of the powder blue brigade.

Doesn't really matter why the new policy came into being, just glad to know that it's a step in the right direction.

For those who are interested in reading another opinion on Vietnam's development, check out this post ("The Exit Sign") by Preya from a year ago.


Preya said...

I'm actually 100% behind environmental protection measures; I would also love to see Hanoi remain a relatively flat city like Paris (in my dreams, I know). I don't think my post is against all this, just the attitude that Vietnamese don't have the right to decide for themselves.

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it is logical that the more income is the country is more pollution and that is an issue of care in these times!