Protecting the environment in World Heritage sites

Posted at: MONday - 24/11/2014 13:31 - post name: Cộng tác viên

Protecting the environment in World Heritage sites

Although the title “World Heritage” brings about considerable benefit to countries, World Heritage sites themselves are facing environmental risks as the number of tourist are increasing rapidly and there is no adequate protection.

Venice (Italy) is being damaged not only by climate change but also by around 60,000 visitors to the city. Architectural structures are being seriously injured by tides, which are caused by hundreds of passenger vessel anchored around while cultural values are fading due to the increasing number of tourists.

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In Cambodia, Angkor’s temples are also seriously affected by the development of tourism, which leads to an increase in the population. The number of people has increased from 120.000 in 1992 to 220.000 in 2010. Such increase are placing pressure on water supply. The overexploitation of underground water may cause the depression in the area, which may destroy the temples at any time.

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Vietnam is also confronted with similar situation. The country now has thousands of historic sites and landscapes, many of them have been recognised as World Heritage site such as the Hue Citadel, Ha Long Bay, Hoi An Old Quarters, Cham My Son historic site, the Phong Nha – Ke Bang National Park, the Thang Long Imperial Citadel, the Ho Dynasty Citadel, the Dong Van Stone Plateau. The environmental protection in these sites are facing huge challenges. The civil construction in the area are threatening the preservation of these places while the development of tourism is placing great pressure on water supply, waste treatment and causing air, water, and noise pollution. The development of infrastructure for services and production is not in accordance with regulations and rapid urbanization are contributing to the disappearance of ancient villages and rural cultural atmosphere.

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In such context, Mr. Kishore Rao,  Director of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre has recently sent his letter to Ambassador Duong Van Quang, Head of the Vietnamese mission to UNESCO, the National Commission for UNESCO, and the UNESCO Office in Hanoi, expressing his concern that the construction of the National Assembly Hall and a wall around the World-Heritage Thang Long Imperial Citadel may cause unrepairable damage to the citadel.

Mr. Kishore Rao said such damages may threaten the originality and the global values of the site and raise the problem in the management and preservation of the citadel.

The Vietnam Historical Science Association (VHSA), the Vietnam Cultural Heritage Association, and the Vietnam Archaeology Association had also called on the Government and relevant authorities to protect the Citadel.

In Hoi An, the  in creasing number of tourists is also causing the erosion of Chua Cau and polluting the area. Thousands of household and hundreds of hotels, restaurants, and manufacturers are directly pumping sewage to Chua Cau river.

In order to ensure the effective management of World heritage site, Vietnam should increase investment in protecting the environment and stop polluting the environment around these sites.

In addition, it is a must to take into account the preservation of heritage site in the development process.

Dang Kien Giang

Trans lated by Dic

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