Green infrastructure: Solution to many urban problems
VietNamNet Bridge - In Vietnam, some cities and provinces are thinking of developing green infrastructure, including Can Tho.


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Green infrastructure is a network of infrastructure items designed to provide ecosystem services. The network can improve environmental conditions, helping improve people's health and quality of life. It also supports a green economy and enhances biodiversity.

Tran Van Giai Phong from ISET Vietnam said green infrastructure has important significance to the sustainable development of urban areas in the context of climate change and pollution.

Phong and other parties from April to September carried out research and analysed the problems Can Tho is facing, which include floods caused by flood tides, urban development and rainfall. The city is also bearing pressure from air and water pollution.

Developing urban green infrastructure doesn’t just mean trying to grow more trees and plants. It is necessary to harmonize construction works to fulfill multiple purposes – mitigating the pressure that causes water pollution, and easing the surface flow pressure to reduce floods and prevent landslides.

The municipal authorities have implemented many projects, including one funded by the World Bank, building embankments along river banks and sewer systems to ease floods. 

However, Phong suggested that Can Tho apply integrated measures, which could settle many problems.

“We can see a series of water drainage works under construction. However, they only target a single purpose,” he said. 

“The drainage sewers, for example, only solve the drainage problem, and cannot help mitigate pollution at the same time,” he said, adding that this is an opportunity to integrate pollution treatment through the development of green infrastructure, including verdure.

Riverbank erosion is also a problem that not only Can Tho but other provinces in Mekong Delta are facing. 

The building of solid embankments along the rivers to prevent erosion affect the value of the landscapes. In some cities, people design the works with greenery to ‘soften’ the solid embankments and improve the landscape.

Developing urban green infrastructure doesn’t just mean trying to grow more trees and plants. It is necessary to harmonize construction works to fulfill multiple purposes – mitigating the pressure that causes water pollution, and easing the surface flow pressure to reduce floods and prevent landslides.

Nguyen Nguyen Minh from Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia said green infrastructure can help settle many problems in urban areas in Vietnam. It improves air quality, reduces noise, creates biodiversity and develops the economy.

“Regarding biodiversity, in HCMC or Can Tho, there are fewer birds now,” he noted.

A CSIRO survey found that in Australia, if green infrastructure development is accelerated, this would help reduce energy consumption by 20 percent and temperature by 2-8oC.
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