Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Water is life, guard it well

10.12.2008
Vietnam aims to be a developed country by 2020. With foreign direct investments hitting the record level of more than US$60 billion this year the goal is most likely to be achieved. Still, Vietnam cannot totally ignore the many other challenges that accompany development

DZULKIFLI ABDUL RAZAK: Water is life, guard it well

* The writer is vice-chancellor of Universiti Sains Malaysia and can be contacted at vc@usm.com.my

This article was published in the New Sunday Times, 30 November 2008, ms 35, Focus

HANOI, judging by the traffic, especially the millions of motorbikes that clog the streets, is a city in a hurry.

So, too, the number of construction projects being undertaken. Of particular significance is the new Phu Quoc International Airport which had its ground-breaking ceremony last week. Scheduled to be completed in mid-2012, it will a breakthrough not only for Phu Quoc Island, referred to as the "untapped pearl" (watch out Penang!) but also for the country.

Already, most apparent is the rate at which businesses are being conducted just about anywhere, even on five-foot ways and public spaces.

The director of the Department of Small and Medium Enterprises noted that in the first eight months of the year, the number of SMEs registered had increased by 127 per cent over the same period last year, raising the registered capital by 128 per cent.

According to the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Industrial Enterprises (Vasmie), its 1,500 members make up 22.5 per cent of the national gross domestic product and have created millions of jobs.

All these augur well for the future of Vietnam for, like Malaysia, it has set its eyes to be a developed country by 2020. With strong portfolio investment inflows and foreign direct investments hitting the record level of more than US$60 billion (RM210 billion) this year (based on a source from the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam), the goal is most likely to be achieved.

Still, Vietnam cannot totally ignore the many other challenges that accompany development. Its leading newspaper (Viet Nam News, Nov 24) gives some clues as to what these challenges could be. A glaring one, for example, relates to water governance and the dumping of untreated waste water into rivers. This in turn has led to the decline of the fish and shrimp-rearing business.

They also face the problem of contaminated water entering aquaculture ponds on its way to the sea. A case in point is the Thi Vai river that has remained contaminated for at least a decade and has lost its ability to self-clean, to quote the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh City.

Another case is the pollution of the sole source of spring water where a golf course is located, affecting residents of the Lam Son Commune. The spring water is tainted by chemicals, including insecticide, making the water source "undrinkable". But the majority of residents are forced to use the untreated water due to the lack of alternative water sources.

In Ho Chi Minh City, a survey showed seepage of organic matter from a large cemetery had polluted the soil. Again, residents have no alternative but to use the heavily polluted groundwater.

Apparently, the situation in rural areas is no better. A report tabled at a rural and agricultural environment conference in the central region of Vietnam indicated 85 per cent of the rural population has no clean water (VNN, Nov 25). As a result, the number of people contracting intestinal diseases has skyrocketed of late.

Last year, 88 per cent of diarrhoea cases in the region were linked to the lack of clean water. The report also noted that several rural areas witnessing urbanisation also recorded environmental pollution.

Initiatives like the Mekong Region Water Dialogue are aimed at helping improve water quality but emerging economies like Vietnam need to ensure development is sustainable.

Non-renewable sources like water and energy, by and large, must be managed well so that the quality of life can be further enhanced.

It must also be borne in mind that the United Nations' report on climate change, released ahead of the early December meeting in Poznan, Poland, has also warned developing countries to expect the worst when it comes to water-related issues. It has warned of rain, floods and drought.

Climate models have indicated that Vietnam can expect the worst if it is not vigilant.

We must not forget that the rush towards material prosperity cannot be decoupled from that of environmental prosperity if the quality of life is to be sustained for generations to come. Like Vietnam, Malaysia, too, must take precautions, especially when it comes to water governance.

Mohamad Abdullah | ResearchSEA
Further information:
http://www.usm.my/en/berita-penuh.asp?id=6228
http://www.researchsea.com

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling of PET Bottles: New Ideas for Resource Cycles in Germany
25.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Betriebsfestigkeit und Systemzuverlässigkeit LBF

nachricht Dry landscapes can increase disease transmission
20.06.2018 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Subaru Telescope helps pinpoint origin of ultra-high energy neutrino

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Barium ruthenate: A high-yield, easy-to-handle perovskite catalyst for the oxidation of sulfides

16.07.2018 | Life Sciences

New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon

16.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>