Golf courses protested by scientists, environmentalists
Scientists and environmentalists in Vietnam protested the construction of golf courses in the country, stating it is bad for the environment and takes away land that could be tilled by peasants. The comments were made at a May 6 conference in Hanoi, organized by Vietnam's Federation of Civil Engineering Associations. They said the courses require heavy use of pesticides and fertilizers; and that an average 18-hole golf course in the country uses farmland that would otherwise support 7,000 people and produce 330 tons of rice per crop.
Nguyen Ngoc Chu, general secretary of the Vietnam Golf Association, countered that the courses represent "inevitable progress" and meet part of the government's demand for more green space in the country.
Vietnam presently has 76 golf courses completed or under construction, and another 68 that have applied for licenses. The total land allocated for the 144 golf courses comes to 45,000 hectares. However, only 18 courses are presently open for business.
The environmental dispute between government officials and scientists over the golf courses is shaping into another high-level dissident movement over the impact of development on the natural resources of the country, much like the issue of bauxite mining.
Sources: Deutsche Press Agentur/Monsters and critics.com May 7; Viet Nam News May 8; Saigon Giai Phong May 8; Thanh Nien May 7.