Since the passage of law on environmental protection

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better technologies to achieve the improvement that is required by such approaches. Since the passage of Law on Environmental Protection (LEP) in 1993, a wide range of decrees, directives, and circulars were issued to realize the goals of environmental regulation and enforcement. The LEP was followed by other policies related to environmental management, such as the Prime Minister s Directive 200/ TTg on Ensuring the clean water and environmental hygiene for rural areas , the Inter-Ministerial Circular 142/MTg on Guidelines on environmental impact assessment for operating establishment (issued in 1994), and the Circular 715/ MTg on Guidelines on environmental impact assessment for foreign direct investment projects (issued in 1995). The passage of the Mineral Law in 1996 and the Water Resource Law in 1998 were also signs of the government s concern for the country s environmental problems. Another important step in national environmental control was the formation of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MOSTE) in 1993, which is responsible for environmental management. In 1995, the Vietnam Standards Institute within MOSTE issued national environmental standards, including stan- dards on ambient air quality and the maximum allowable concentrations of haz- ardous substances in ambient air (inorganic and organic). The main tool to achieve pollution control from SMEs in Vietnam was the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Both existing and new fi rms are required to undertake an EIA. However, the EIA process is costly and time-consuming for many Vietnamese SMEs. Thus, in 1999, a circular on environmental registration was promulgated by the MOSTE to simplify the environmental approval procedure for SMEs. SMEs are now required to obtain an environmental license or certi fi cate on pollution control instead of carrying out an EIA. After the establishment of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) in 2002, the state management of environmental protection at central level was transferred from MOSTE to MONRE. The newly established provincial department of natural resources and environments (DONREs) are responsible for the environmental management involving SMEs in their provinces. The Law on Environmental Protection was amended in 2005. Together with this, numerous other decrees, directives, and circulars were also issued to instruct the implementation of these regulations. However, it has been shown that the enforcement of environmental regulations in Vietnam is still very weak (O Rourke 2002 ; Dao and Ofori 2010 ). Responses to environmental problems from the busi- ness community in Vietnam are diverse (Dao and Ofori 2010 ). Only a small number of big companies especially those with international supply chains are demon- strating good environmental protection practices. The majority of SMEs continue to have poor environmental performance.
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