Ha Long Bay, a popular tourist spot in Vietnam, is losing its charm due to pollution and too much development. The increase in buildings and tourist facilities in Ha Long City damages the bay's environment. While efforts to reduce plastic waste have been successful, there is still a long way to go in restoring the bay's health and beauty.

Ha Long Bay in Danger as Pollution, Over-Development Threaten Its Pristine Beauty
(Photo : from VnExpress International)

Ha Long Bay Faces Environmental Threats

Ha Long Bay, a famous UNESCO World Heritage site in Vietnam, faces serious environmental issues. Known for its stunning turquoise waters and limestone islands, the bay attracted over seven million visitors last year. However, the rapid growth of nearby Ha Long City, with new hotels, homes, and tourist attractions like a cable car and amusement park, harms the bay's natural beauty.

According to Philstar Global, the over-development along the coast, including docks and luxury apartments, has severely impacted the bay's ecosystem. Recently, images of a large construction project in a nearby bay caused a stir among those who care about the environment.

Originally, Ha Long Bay was home to about 234 types of coral. Now, this number has dropped by half. The bay also struggles with pollution from both plastic and human waste. Despite these challenges, there have been some positive signs. Captain Nguyen Ba Hai, who flies tourists over the bay, noted that plastic pollution has decreased over the last ten years.

Still, visitors like Anete Cimbule from Latvia hope for cleaner waters. She expected to see bluer waters during her visit to Vietnam. Captain Hai also wished to see the bay return to its former blue color.

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Public Outcry Over New Construction at Ha Long Bay

A large building project near Ha Long Bay caused a lot of concern in November 2023. Ha Long Bay, known for its beautiful islands and popular with tourists, faced threats from this construction. Last year, over seven million people visited the bay.

State media showed pictures of a big construction area at Bai Tu Long Bay, next to Ha Long Bay. Do Gia Capital Limited Company plans to build a complex with homes, hotels, and shops over 318,000 square meters. This area is in the "buffer zone" around Ha Long Bay, which UNESCO says helps protect the World Heritage site.

UCA News reported that the project will have 451 villas, houses, hotels, and other areas. However, a former official, Truong Quoc Binh, said this construction broke the rules for protecting Ha Long Bay.

Nguyen Xuan Dien, a famous researcher, and Trang Nguyen, a conservationist, both said this project could harm Ha Long Bay. Dien said it turns natural beauty into "toys for the rich."

Cam Pha City, near the building site, told the builders to stop work until an inspection is done by November 10. The plan got official approval in 2021.

Ha Long Bay has changed a lot because of new buildings and tourists. This has hurt the environment, including coral and sea life. There is also a big problem with trash.

UNESCO's office in Vietnam and the Ha Long Bay managers didn't answer questions about this issue. Other similar building projects in Vietnam have also been reported recently.

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