Hanoi seeks national heritage status for polluted West Lake

Authorities in Hanoi want the 500-hectare West Lake, the capital’s largest lake, to be considered for national heritage status in order to conserve it. However, experts from the Vietnam National Heritage Council believe that the West Lake, which is currently polluted and home to unpleasant boats used as floating restaurants, needs to be conserved first before it can even be considered as a national heritage site. Many of the lake’s boats — some illegal, and some which are permitted to reside there under the jurisdiction of both transport and trading authorities — have been found discharging destructive wastewater, making it difficult to preserve the lake’s biodiversity and pay homage to natural and cultural values. While experts believe West Lake is not worthy, representatives from the city’s culture department acted to nominate West Lake for national heritage status after Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple were awarded it in February.