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Mekong Delta must develop in sustainable way, or risk serious damage: experts

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Nguyen Huu Thien, an independent expert on Mekong Delta’s ecology, has praised the government’s Resolution on developing the Mekong Delta by 2050 in a sustainable way in the context of climate change.

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Mekong Delta is the rice granary of Vietnam


He said the resolution shows a new and reasonable way of thinking in line with the international practice. 

“This is the best approach currently in the context of great challenges in Mekong Delta, the rice granary of Vietnam,” Thien said.

The main solution is to develop the Mekong Delta while respecting natural law. 

Thien said that a heavy price will be paid for any intervention in nature. 

Rivers brings alluvium and sand to consolidate the delta. If the alluvium and sand flow gets stuck, expansion will stop and landslides will occur.

Embankments on seashores and filling up of natural holes on rivers will help stop landslides, but the embankments should be built in areas only where it is necessary, he said.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at a conference in September 2017 that the Delta needs to ‘protect land, water and people’.

Land has been lost due to riverbank and shoreline erosion, while subsidence 10 times faster than rising sea water levels. The remaining land is less rich than before.

Water resources in the Delta includes fresh water, brackish water, saltwater from the Mekong River, rainwater, sea water and underground water. 

The fresh water volume has become low in recent years as a result of climate change, while the low rainfall paves the way for saltwater to enter rice fields.

Meanwhile, rivers have been poisoned with untreated domestic and industrial waste water as well as fertilizer and pesticide from intensive farming.

The local authorities also have to face increasing migration. One report said nearly two million people have left the rich land in the last 20 years.

Thien emphasized that migration from rural to urban areas is inevitable, but it also shows there are problems in the delta. 

Mekong Delta is facing three challenges due to the impact of climate change, unsustainable development and hydropower plants on the Mekong River.

The hydropower plants on the Mekong have led to the reduction of fine silt, which causes soil erosion and affects agriculture. The load of fine silt decreased by 50 percent in 1992-2014, from 160 million tons per annum to 85 million tons.



Source: VietNamNet

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