Resource depletion in Mekong delta alarming

VietNamNet Bridge – Scientists and administrators once again rang the bell of alarm against a rapid depletion of natural resources, a biodiversity decline and climate change causing adverse impacts on farming and the livelihood of people in the Mekong Delta at a forum held last week.



Mekong delta, poverty reduction, wetlands, ecosystems

      

Nguyen Thanh Nguyen, vice chairman of Long An Province, said at the forum held in Long An that the province had to pay dearly for the ten-fold rice yield increase to three million tons now compared to the late 1970s.

The ecosystem of Dong Thap Muoi area has been spoiled as much of the area has been turned into rice fields. Besides, the brackish water ecosystem in coastal areas has almost been wiped out recently due to shrimp farming, he added.

The water surface in the Mekong River has in recent years declined much due to the regulations in upstream areas and the impacts of climate change, said Nguyen Van Nghia at the Department of Water Resources Management under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. The groundwater level has also dropped by 0.2-0.4 meter on average each year and riverbanks and coastal areas have become more vulnerable to landslides.

In addition, illegal and destructive fishing activities are threatening natural aquatic resources in the Mekong Delta region. Saltwater intrusion, flood prevention and hydropower works have also impeded the development of aquatic animals.

Speaking at the forum, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Bui Cach Tuyen said that to beat problems in the process of implementing the planning in the Mekong Delta, there should be synchronous and appropriate solutions. Environmental issues need to be carefully taken into account when doing the planning.

Tuyen noted climate change had badly impacted on natural ecosystems and affected traditional livelihoods of locals.

Therefore, according to Tuyen, it is necessary to integrate sustainable development with conservation of wetlands and maintenance of ecosystems in development programs, as well as combine conservation with poverty reduction in wetlands.

SGT/VNN

Mekong delta, poverty reduction, wetlands, ecosystems
 
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