HCMC protects green space while implementing projects in Can Gio

Wednesday, 18/10/2023 15:49
Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) is considering feasible measures to protect the existing green space of Can Gio while carrying out investment projects in the coastal district.
Can Gio district from above (Photo: laodong.vn)

During a recent seminar about Can Gio held in August 2023, experts suggested that it is necessary to carefully review and select suitable investment projects among many proposals. Economic expert Dr. Tran Du Lich said that the district should boost the growth of tourism, maritime economy, and renewable energy due to its natural features.

Projects to be invested in Can Gio district

The HCMC People’s Committee has recently submitted to the Prime Minister a project to build Can Gio International Transshipment Port. It is estimated that the cargo amount served by this new port will be 4.8 million TEU and 16.9 million TEU by 2030 and 2047 respectively. Besides the ability to attract a large capital volume of about US$6 billion, this port offers job openings to 6,000-8,000 people, not to mention thousands of positions in the logistics field. When reaching its full capacity, the port contributes VND34-40 trillion ($1.4-1.64 billion) to the state budget a year.

The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has proposed to add the Can Gio Offshore Wind Energy Plant with a capacity of 6,000MW into the list of potential offshore wind power plants in the draft National Electricity Planning in the 2021-2030 period, with a vision to 2050. The project is sited offshore of the South of the East Sea, on a surface area of 325ha and with a total investment of 16 billion USD.

In August, HCMC agreed to launch the project Can Gio Sea Reclamation Project in Long Hoa commune and Can Thanh town. The construction permit is expected to be issued on April 30, 2025 for the investment procedure. When completed, this will be a smart urban area for tourism, seminar, and relaxation with high-quality services. Formed on a surface area of 2,870ha, the project needs a total investment of 9 billion USD for its technical infrastructure and will house 228,000 residents.

The launch of such large-scale projects obviously has influences on the natural environment of Can Gio District.

HCMC Electricity Corporation said that the 500kV line connecting to Da Phuoc 500kV Station might negatively affect the protection forest in the district.

In addition, the Government has asked HCMC to evaluate the influences of the to-be international transshipment port on the biosphere reserve of Can Gio Mangrove Forest.

Protecting green space in Can Gio district

Chairman of the Can Gio district People’s Committee Nguyen Van Hong informed that with a surface area of 33,000ha, the mangrove forest here occupies over 45 percent of the natural land. It was formerly used for research and learning purposes, plus eco-tourism. Thanks to Resolution 98, HCMC is allowed to exploit carbon credits from this forest to earn more money for the city budget. Therefore, in the near future, Can Gio District is going to cooperate with state departments and experts to propose feasible solutions for HCMC to better exploit the strengths of the district while still maintaining the core traditional and cultural values here.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Phung Chi Sy, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment (VACNE) stressed that Can Gio Mangrove Forest has been certified by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve, and thus no project is allowed to launch within this reserve. Any other nearby ones must present a valid environment-impact report before being carried out.

Can Gio district from above (Photo: laodong.vn)

When in the construction stage, the projects of an international transshipment port, an offshore wind power plant, and a sea reclamation urban area will only have minor influences on this reserve. However, when in operation, these projects will accelerate urbanization, meaning more pollution, possible forest encroachment, and natural landscape destruction. This calls for practical solutions to monitor and eliminate harmful behaviors to the environment and protect the biodiversity in the district.

HCMC aims at turning Can Gio district into a model of harmony between preserving the biodiversity, natural ecosystems and an improvement in the livelihood and living standards for local residents, making its development a sustainable one.

Nearly 60 km from the centre of HCMC, Can Gio was recognized by UNESCO as a World Biosphere Reserve with primeval forests and abundant floral coverage. It was also the site of a number of glorious battles throughout Vietnam’s history.

The Can Gio Mangrove Biosphere Reserve covers more than 70,000 ha and occupies more than one-third of HCM City’s total area. The area is situated along a recently-formed estuary complex of tidal flats, where the Vam Co, Sai Gon, and Dong Nai Rivers discharge into the sea.

Historically, this land, also known as the Sac Forest Guerrilla Base, was a key battleground in the country’s resistance wars against French and US aggressors./.

Compiled by BTA