Tourist vessels in Hạ Long Bay in northern Quảng Ninh Province. More measures should be adopted to improve the environment of the bay, a conference heard recently. – VNA/VNS Photo Tiến Dũng
QUẢNG NINH — Local authorities, enterprises and communities in northern Quảng Ninh Province and Hải Phòng City must strengthen co-operation to protect the environment in Hạ Long Bay, a conference heard yesterday.
This is especially important for the development of sustainable fish farming cages on Cát Bà Island.
The conference, which was held for the third time by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, aimed to help leaders of Hạ Long Bay and Cát Bà Island, two popular tourist destinations, to discuss the impact of waste being discharged by nearly 500 tourist vessels and more than 530 floating fish farming sites in these two areas.
Hồ Quang Huy, deputy chairman of the Hạ Long City’s People’s Committee, said the management of waste being discharged in the bay faced difficulties because of low awareness of environmental protection among some vessel owners.In addition, the bay is adjacent to Cát Bà Island, where many floating restaurants and fish farming cages are located, and they also discharge waste. As a result, large volumes of waste would wash into the bay at high tide, seriously affecting the environment, he added.
To resolve the problem and protect the marine ecosystem, both sites must work together.
Nguyễn Văn Tuân, deputy director of the Management Board of Cát Bà Island, agreed, saying there were 486 fish farming sites on the island, with more than 8,600 cages, affecting the ecological environment and polluting the seawater, causing a decline in the coral reefs.Tuân said the major hurdle was that the island had not attracted businesses that invest in wastewater and waste treatment, such as by expanding or building waste collection sites.
He said the number of ships would rise over the next few years, so a better plan for waste treatment was necessary, or the current waste treatment sites would soon be overloaded.
Leaders of both areas agreed that the two sites must work together to chalk out effective measures, such as applying fees to enterprises and local residents using nylon bags and reducing and gradually curbing the use of foam instead of composite materials at floating restaurants, as foam would quickly decompose, polluting the seawater.
The US-funded Hạ Long-Cát Bà Alliance was established in 2014 to build partnerships between the government, businesses and rural societies to improve environmental management of the bay in the northern province of Quảng Ninh and the Cát Bà Archipelago, which is part of the port city of Hải Phòng. — VNS