Vietnam faced an ample of war situations with countries like France, U.S., Japan, China and Cambodia and the war still continues with the ecological and environmental issues. Vietnam was devastated by the use of highly incendiary liquid fire-bombs, defoliants, crop deterioration which lead hazardous and significant ecological troubles that curbed the growth of the country. Vietnamese faced enough amount of conflicts, wars and all possible hurdles for a significant period of while that the present scenario which supports development of Vietnam leaves Vietnamese plunged in a pool of prosperity, swept over with happiness all across the country. Perhaps all these happens at the cost of huge environmental ramification which is unimaginably expensive most of the time. Let us have a look at the contributing factors which facilitate environmental impairment leading to a set back for the development of Vietnam.
Before going into the environmental factor there is another important issue to be addressed. There was once a period when the U.S. Ground troops arrived in Danang, a coastal city in Vietnam, for Vietnam was almost a war field and a burial ground for the military troops of U. S. and Vietnam. The death toll was unimaginable as it costed more than nine million lives in the war between North Vietnamese troops and the guerrilla fighters. Perhaps it was too late to realise that they had not won any territory, minds or respect from anyone as a result of the war except for the lives foregone. In 1973, after having signed the Paris Peace Accord the U.S. Troops withdrew from Vietnam to their state. Nonetheless it is observed that a significant number of troops and soldiers continued to dwell in Vietnam in the pretext of "Mission in Action" till 2000 or so.
The Vietnamese struggle
The Vietnam War was the result of the greedy intention of France which tried to dominate the Indochina, when on its attempt to rejuvenate and revive its provincial territory post second world war. Under the leadership of the Communist Ho Chi Minh- a revolutionary moment was perpetrated termed as "the Viet" absolutely supported by the political teams and the military troops. This moment demoralised the efforts of French to sustain and continue their colonial suppression in Vietnam which ultimately resulted in the exile of French in 1954 from Vietnam eventually promising them a slavery free life thereafter. However the independence was not enjoyed to the fullest as they were busy dealing with the contrasted consensus between the North and the South Vietnam which followed Communism led by Ho Chi Minh and Non-Communism led by Ngo Dinh Diem respectively. Nevertheless the credit of gaining independence from French was attributed to Ho Chi Minh. America opted to support the French infiltrators through the Non-communists in Vietnam for the sake of acting against China. One more reason for the U.S. Interest in South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam which followed anti-communism) was so extensive as to support them militarily, air force and naval force wise, was to restrict the growth of communism in countries which fall in Southeast Asia. On the other hand North Vietnam was militarily supported by communist powers - the Soviet Union and China. This support was well established in the Presidentship of John F Kennedy and Lyndson Johnson. The continued efforts to supporting anti-communists became never ending as they diverted an unimaginable number of troops every time they decided to pose a war and establish opposition; whereas the military support rendered by China and Soviet Union was not significant in comparison the U.S. Troops. Ultimately it was South Vietnam which concluded the war defeating the North Vietnam despite its massive support from U.S. The death toll reached 1.1 million by 1994 according to Vietnamese government. Almost 5% of North Vietnamese faced their ends serving the military.
Aspects such as development in agriculture, industrial improvements,expansion of industries and growing population chipped in ecological and environment pressures on the country. The environmental pressures if left unnoticed would lead to devastating effects for people within the country and as well as for the rest of the world through its major contribution in the destruction of mother Nature. Let us have a look at the proportionate contribution made by various factors. Vietnam is known for its expertise in trade which is one of the main occupation increasing GDP of the country. Nonetheless the current scenario is such that the country is trying to gain more out of trade, with that in mind the agriculture in Vietnam is going for a task. Unlike the past, quality less, artificial pesticides with no appropriate guidance the agriculture in Vietnam is facing the worst of it's times. Government has liberalized market with the expectation of GDP growth and as a result cheap and banned pesticides and improper guidelines are revolving around.
There are reports that prove the effect of insecticides on human. It lead to frequent visits to hospitals, body system malfunctioning, stomach upsets, food poison and other similar information are no more new in Vietnam. Their efforts to equip themselves, with an intention to cope up with the world economically and to prove themselves as competing and leading global players is very obvious. Industrialization was encouraged more than everything without giving a second thought to the increased ecological imbalance and disturbance it would cause. Vietnam enjoyed a rapid increase in annual growth in the recent years with an off set of polluting the water bodies in the country. To everyone's shock, more than half of the industries discarded the waste water and bi-products in the flowing rivers, either half treated or without a treatment.
This grace for a rapid growth through industrialization did not stop with polluting the water as it extended to pollute the air as well. Reports say that the polluted smoke from chimneys from many parts of the country have crossed the air standards set (with the help of statutory bodies for a healthy living). This is further facilitated by the rapidly growing population; the sources confirm a growth of 23 million people in 1940 to more than 76 million in 1999. The speedy and unrestricted growth has added fuel to the burning fire by contributing its share to the degradation of ecology. This increase in population is absolutely attributed the widespread illiteracy exclusively in rural and suburban regions of Vietnam. The minorities such as Thai, H'Mong and Khomu created a significant volume of disaster to the cultivable lands, as they use the "slash and burn". This method requires a long span of time for the land to get renewed enough to meet the requirements and qualities of an arable land. An automatic increase in the demand of tillable land directly causes immense deforestation and soil degradation and erosion due to the so called "slash and burn" method and deforestation.
The lack of unity between the North and South Regime in the same country is the cause for the chronicle war. It costed many lives, development of the country, economical set back and environmental destruction. It would have been better if the North and South provinces managed to form an alliance or a treaty after the exile of the French; to bring down the war. The political values in South Vietnam were so weak to stay unrealised about the hidden agenda of U.S. Military support which handicapped Vietnam of it's development and effort to compete with the rest of the world. Neither the efforts from the North Vietnam was cooperative or significant enough to demonstrate a vivid picture of the plans of U.S., as they were handicapped by time and unavailability of opportunity.
The environmental set back in Vietnam demands a comprehensive approach towards an aimed radical shift in the whole set of aspects such as industrialization, inappropriate agricultural practices and rapid growth in population, discussed above. The associations for environment in Vietnam, who are in charge of the issues such water pollution and air pollution should strategize ideas in favour of curbing all these. Perhaps the strategies require a department on its own to keep a track of the proportion of a company's share to pollute environment. This can be done with the help of statutory bodies. The problems caused due to the disposal of harmful chemicals and bi-products are a part and parcel of any developing country. The only successful way to encounter it is to amend the existing legislative regulations to inculcate the fear of penalty, punishment and close down of the company in case of violation of law. Stringent and hard laws should be enforced with the law stating penalties and punishments in proportion to the environmental perturbation. In addition to these, these associations should go public and create awareness by bringing to their knowledge the pros and cons of environmental effect and the disasters that would be caused aftermath. At the same time, for these public awareness schemes to last long the public should be educated. Government of Vietnam should aim at educating all the people across the country to cultivate the responsibility that every individual should bear towards the goodness and well being of the environment, the society and in return towards the safety of mother Nature.