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How high is the environmental cost?

Vietnam has reported high GDP growth rate of 7.02 percent for 2019, which was created mostly by industrial production and the construction and service sectors.

However, environmentalists are cautious when talking about the impressive achievements, noting that when industrial production increases to contribute to economic growth, the damages to the environment also increase.

 

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To settle the conflict between the industrial production and the environment, according to Le Cao Doan from the Vietnam Economics Institute, it is necessary to economize and marketize the environment, and calculate the cost when people create impact on the environment.

People have realized that as mass production increases, it has put a burden on the environment. The big volume of CO2 is puncturing the ozone layer. Industrial production also creates a big volume of waste.

A report of the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment showed that in 2015-2018, 25 million tons of ash and slag were emitted from the 12 coal-fired power plants run by the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and only 10 million tons were consumed.

A report of the National Assembly’s Committee for Science, Technology and Environment showed that in 2015-2018, 25 million tons of ash and slag were emitted from the 12 coal-fired power plants run by the Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) and only 10 million tons were consumed.


The committee reported that EVN is meeting difficulties in storing and consuming the ash and slag produced by its coal-fired power plants, especially in the central and southern regions.

The costs to fix environmental problems are very high, according to Doan.

Services to deal with the problems have been launched.

The services have become a kind of goods, and so, the expenses for the services must be counted when calculating the costs of economic development.

In Vietnam, environmental activities as a business sector have just begun. There are regulations that cover the sector, but many problems still exist in the legal framework.

Project developers are still trying to avoid compensating for environmental damages.

However, Doan admitted that it is difficult to calculate the environmental costs because this is not a kind of good created by humans.

“We can measure how much the air quality index exceeds the standard, but we find it difficult to calculate the damages in money,” he said.

According to Dinh Duc Truong from Hanoi Economics University, the school has been working on a method to quantify the economic losses from air pollution for the last 10 years.

Truong and his co-workers estimate that the losses are between $10.8 and $13.2 billion, according to 2018 prices.

Thanh Lich

 

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