Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on Wednesday approved the National Strategy for Environmental Protection to 2030 with a vision until 2050, in which the government sets targets to prevent the increasing trend of environmental pollution, solve urgent environmental problems, and step by step improve and restore environmental quality.
Aside from developing a roadmap to phase out fossil fuel vehicles, which mean those running on gasoline, diesel or other fossil fuels, the plan will promote the use of non-motorized, eco-friendly means of transport like bicycles, electric vehicles and those run on clean and renewable energy.
Public transport systems and mass passenger transportation will be accelerated. Private vehicles in urban areas will be restricted.
Authorities will strengthen motor vehicle emission control, complete and promulgate a roadmap for the application of national technical regulations on emissions of road motor vehicles. Fuel consumption standards will be enhanced while biofuels, as well as clean and environmentally friendly fuels, will be promoted.
Big cities will have to expand green space areas, improve air quality and reduce noise pollution.
The green space coverage in Vietnam’s major cities is two-three sq.m per person, according to the Vietnam Administration of Forestry. The ratio is only a fifth of the mininum coverage set by the United Nations – 10 sq.m per person.
The new environment plan also states that the burning of crop by-products in suburban areas will be controlled while the burning of honeycomb charcoal, which creates carbon monoxide, will be eliminated.
The government also encourages localities, especially the two biggest cities of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, to apply environmental protection regulations that are even stricter than national environmental standards.
In January last year, the government ordered the two cities to take dilapidated vehicles off their roads while the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment was instructed to create national standards for vehicle emissions and suggest how they could be applied, and create a certification system to determine if a vehicle is environment-friendly.
Last week, the government stated in a resolution that HCMC, Hanoi, Hai Phong, Da Nang and Can Tho, Vietnam’s five biggest cities and currently the only centrally controlled municipalities, work on a motorbike restriction plan after 2030.
As requested, they must either ban or restrict motorbikes in certain districts after 2030, as well as study and develop a scheme on charging motor vehicle fees in some areas at risk of congestion and environmental pollution.