All hands on deck to preserve ecosystems in Mekong Delta

HANOI (Vietnam) • Local authorities and environmental organisations in the Mekong Delta region are stepping up efforts to preserve and develop ecosystems vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Located in southern Vietnam, the Mekong Delta has a diverse and unique ecosystem that includes marine life, islands, estuaries, wetlands, mangroves and delta islands, along with biosphere reserves, national parks and nature reserves.

For local economies, these ecosystems provide rich fishing opportunities, fruits, alluvium for agriculture and space for tourism.

The Mekong Delta region accounts for 12 per cent of the country's area and nearly 20 per cent of its population.

But rapid, unplanned economic development, unchecked population growth and climate change continually put pressure on these ecosystems, which have been reduced in size and degraded.

Now, multiple efforts are under way to preserve the ecosystems.

In Kien Giang, the provincial People's Committee has approved a project to examine the current status of biodiversity in the Phu Quoc Marine Protected Area.

The province has ramped up the planting of coastal protection forests, planted trees to control salinity and ensured sea dyke protection on a total area of 85ha, Viet Nam News reports.

Since the end of 2017, over 540ha of mangrove forests have been grown in the province.

On the island city of Phu Quoc, the first Saturday of each month has been observed as a day for the environment when all people and organisations are called on to act for a greener, cleaner, and safer "Pearl Island".

Together with Patong in Thailand and Donsol in the Philippines, Phu Quoc Island has made a commitment to eliminate plastic pollution in the area.

Along with this, many endangered and native animals, such as Burmese pythons and pangolins, have been released into Ca Mau's U Minh Ha National Park by the Vietnamese authorities to protect its biodiversity.

By conserving biodiversity, local authorities hope they will be able to revive tourism as well.

The tourism industry in the Mekong Delta region has taken a knock during the pandemic as the number of visitors decreased rapidly.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2021, with the headline 'All hands on deck to preserve ecosystems in Mekong Delta'. Subscribe