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08 August 2009 | 02:29:00 PM

From the day of the Environmental Protection Law issued to the present, the environmental technology branch in Vietnam has had the first toddling steps, however, there are many weak points, those have to be improved to catch up with economic development speed and to make it feasible in the concrete conditions of Vietnam.

by  Phung Chi Sy, Nguyen Thien Phuong, Chu Thi Sang  
2.4.            Environmental Technology Applications in the Small- and Medium-scale Enterprises
2.5.            Environmental Technology Applications in Hospitals and Health Care Centers 
2.6.            Environmental Technology Applications in the Craft Villages
2.7.            Environmental Technology Applications in Rural Areas  
2.8.            Environmental Technology Application in Ports and Harbors and Oil Exploitation Platform
3.1. Legal Framework Development for Environmental Technology Promotion
3.2. Strengthening of state environmental management capacity
3.3. Strengthening of environmental education and awareness
3.4. Strengthening and diversification of environmental technology investment
3.5. Strengthening of environmental science research and technological development
3.6. Expansion of international cooperation and attraction of foreign financial assistance

Environmental technology is a product or process applied for minimization, prevention, reduction or control of negative impacts caused by human activities on the environment. Environmental technology includes more effective production processes with less waste discharge and less raw material consumption. Environmental technology includes also the measures for cleaning the existing facilities or safety disposal or reuse of wastes .
Environmental technology is integration of physical, chemical, biological measures for prevention and control of wastes originated from production processes and domestic activities. Environmental technology includes the principal knowledge, technical procedures and equipment for realization of the principles and procedures.
According to the mentioned above definition, "the environmental technology" includes "the cleaner production" and "end-pipe waste treatment".
In many developed and developing countries, environmental technology becomes important economic branch, where there are many stable and effectives applications of environmental technology for pollution prevention and control. The environmental technology is being transferred successfully by many foreign companies into Vietnam.
After 17 years "DOI MOI" (Innovation) (1986-2003), economics of Vietnam have achieved the remarkable results with high and stable growth rate. Besides the socio-economic benefits the economic development causes the higher pressure on the environment if there is not more effective environmental technology undertaken. Therefore, environmental technology promotion is considered one of priority issues in the national environmental protection strategy.
From the day of the Environmental Protection Law issued to the present, the environmental technology branch in Vietnam has had the first toddling steps, however, there are many weak points, those have to be improved to catch up with economic development speed and to make it feasible in the concrete conditions of Vietnam.
2.1.            Environmental technology applications in urban areas
At the present, there are 656 towns in Vietnam, including 5 state-owned cities, 81 province’s capitals and over 570 district’s towns with total population of 20.0 millions (equivalent to 25 % of total population). The number of towns will be increased to 1,266 with total population of 30.4 millions (equivalent to 33%) by the year of 2010, that will be 1,953 with total population of 46.0 millions (equivalent to 45%) by the year of 2020. The rapid urbanization will increase the waste loads, including motor vehicle air emissions, domestic waste waters and solid wastes.
The number of motor vehicles in Vietnam is estimated 600,430 automobiles and 10,410,000 motorbikes by June, 2003. The air pollution caused by dust and noise in almost towns is urgent issues. The main reasons are rapid increase of motor vehicle number, that is 35.5% for automobiles and 61.5% for motorbikes during two years (2000-2001) in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City; weak quality of roads and high ratio of old motor vehicles (73% of motor vehicles with 10-20 year life cycle).
Besides the management measures, improvement of road quality, use of public transportation means, substitution of leaded gasoline by unleaded one etc. at the present there are some applied research projects related to motor vehicle air emission pollution reduction, including use of LPG for cars and motorbikes; catalytic converter of carbon monoxide on the base of Cu, Co, Ni, La fixed on aluminum oxides and bentonite; monolith- autocatalyst for conversion of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Besides that, in the past, there were some foreign companies to introduce some types of catalytic converters for reduction of motor vehicle air emissions. However, there was no technology applied in the practice.
The collection and treatment of municipal waste waters are not implemented in all towns of Vietnam. In the biggest cities (i.e. Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Danang cities), some projects related to canal cleaning, removal of slums, embankment, improvement of drainage systems are being implemented. However, so far there is not any urban central waste water treatment operating in Vietnam.
According to the Decision No 199/TTg issued by the Prime Minister on 3 April 1997 on implementation of the urgent measures for management of wastes originated from towns and industrial parks, at the present, there are 32 towns having the plans for construction of sanitary solid waste dumping areas, among those there are 13 towns being constructed. The technologies applied for domestic solid waste disposal in Vietnam are sanitary dumping, composting. Other related measures are odor pollution control by using effective microbes (EM), physico-chemical and biological treatment of leakage waste water from the dumping areas.
2.2.            Environmental technology application in the industrial parks
In the recent year, the number of industrial parks and export processing zones is increased very rapidly. Now there are 76 industrial parks and export processing zones with total area of 15,216 ha established in Vietnam.
Some industrial parks and export processing zones (about 25-30%) have been installed the central waste water treatment plants. The applied technology is combination of physical, chemical and biological treatment. 
So far the industrial solid waste and hazardous waste from all industrial parks are not properly disposed. The first industrial waste disposal complex with total area of 100 ha located in Dong Nai province is being designed and constructed by Bien Hoa Industrial Park Development Company (SONADEZI) for disposal of industrial wastes collected from Dong Nai province. The main components of the complex are sanitary dumping; treatment of leakage waste water treatment by using physico-chemical method; incineration of combustible hazardous waste by using two chamber incineration equipped with air emission control facilities. Other waste disposal complex with total area of 2,000 ha is being planned for both domestic and industrial waste disposal.
2.3. Environmental Technology Application in the independent large-scale enterprises located outside industrial parks
(1). Cleaner production (CP)
In the recent years, cleaner production is getting more and more interest from the environmental managers and producers as an effective tool for pollution reduction in Vietnam. The related activities are as follows :
In framework of UNIDO-SECO Project (US/VIE/96/023), from the year of 1998 the Vietnam Cleaner Production Center have been established. The project is being implemented through two phases. The first phase was prolonged from 1999 to 2000; the second phase is being lasted from 2001 to 2004. Besides the activities related to education, training and rising awareness, the cleaner production demonstration have being implemented at 30 enterprises, including textile, paper, food processing, metal's processing etc. in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city and some other provinces. 
Many other enterprises are being implemented the cleaner production measures in framework of some projects, including UNIDO/SIDA project on "Industrial Pollution Reduction-Cleaner Production"; UNDP project on industrial pollution reduction (VIE/95/019 and VIE/95/053); Vietnam-Canada Environmental Project (VCEP) (Phase 2) as well as projects funded by the central and local governments.
In September 1999, Vietnam Government had signed the International Declaration on Cleaner Protection. After that, the National Action Plan of Cleaner Production was drafted and approved by the former Ministry of Science Technology and Environment on 06 May 2002.
(2). Air emission control technology
The industrial air emissions in Vietnam are mainly emitted from thermopower, cement, fertilizer and chemical plants. In the recent years, there are many enterprises to apply the air pollution control facilities, including bag filters for steel, cement and tobacco plants; wet scrubbers for superphosphate, acid sulfuric plants; charcoal adsorption for pesticide bottling etc.  
In the fact, the operation efficiencies of the applied air pollution control facilities are not high because of weak enforcement, low awareness of enterprise's owners.
(3). Waste water treatment technology
The industrial waste waters in Vietnam are mainly discharged from food processing, textile and dying, paper mills, latex processing and electroplating plants. The activated sludge technologies are mostly applied for beverage, milk production factories. The biological ponds are commonly used for tapioca, sugar cane and latex factories. The physico-chemical methods in combination with biological ponds are usually used for dyeing, paper mills, electroplating factories.  
In the fact, except the foreign investment enterprises, the waste water treatment facilities in the local enterprises are not effectively operated because of weak enforcement and low awareness of enterprise's owners.
(4). Industrial Solid and Hazardous Waste Disposal
Industrial solid and hazardous wastes are mainly originated from electronic, chemical, pesticide, accumulate and oil exploitation enterprises. In the recent years, there are some small-scale incinerators with capacity of 1.0 to 5.0 tons/day installed for solid waste disposal, including oily waste from oil tank cleaning services, pesticide wastes etc.   
2.4.            Environmental Technology Applications in the Small- and Medium-scale Enterprises
As mentioned in the Provisional Regulation on the criteria for determination of SME issued by the Vietnam Government on June 20, 1998 the SMEs are those with registration investment of 5 billions of VND (equivalent to 300,000 USD) and average number of   labors of 200.
As the statistic data on June 30, 2000, there are 562,357 industrial enterprises in Vietnam, including 569 national state enterprises, 1,250 local state, 559,706 non-governmental and 830 foreign investment ones. Amongst those there is above 98% private small- and medium enterprises. The general features of the kind of enterprises are to distribute in the urban, rural residential areas or to concentrate in the trade traditional villages with handicraft or semi-handicraft technology; backward equipment;   narrow area, low investment. Therefore, many small-scale enterprises such as brick furnaces, ceramics, tapioca starch, fish processing, sauces etc cause the environmental pollution to the surrounding residential areas.
At the present, there are some environmental technological models applied for SMEs in Vietnam, including
- Anaerobic biological technology such as septic or biogas tanks made from the recycled plastics or rubbers in Vietnam.
- Anaerobic/aerobic combined technology transferred by URBAN WING Inc., NISHIHARA NEO and JAVITACHS Co., Ltd. (Japan) to Vietnam through the Center for Environmental Technology for Urban  and Industrial Areas (CETTIA) within Institute of Construction.
- Aerobic biological technology transferred by RedFox Environmental Services, Inc (USA) to Vietnam.
- Physico -Chemical Technology transferred by Institute of Chemical Technology within the State Center for Natural Science and Technology (Vietnam) to some slaughterhouses.
- Odor pollution control using ozone generators made in Vietnam and imported from USA.
- Odor pollution control using effective microorganisms (E.M) transferred by some Japanese Companies to Vietnam.
The Institute for Tropical Technology and Environmental Protection (VITTEP) in cooperation with Center of Environmental Technology of Da Nang City (DENTEC), Center for Environmental Technology and Management (CENTEMA), Environmental Technology Center (ENTEC) have designed and install six pollution control facilities for some SMEs such as tapioca starch, fish processing and animal fat production, including waste water, solid waste treatment and odor pollution control. The technological models can be used for other food processing and beverage SMEs.
2.5.            Environmental Technology Applications in Hospitals and Health Care Centers
At the present, there are about 12,600 hospitals and health care centers in Vietnam with total bed's number of about 173,000, including 815 national and provincial hospitals. The wastes discharged from the hospitals and health care centers are not well managed, those cause serious impacts on the environment. In the past years, there are some companies in Vietnam to design, manufacture and install the medical waste incinerators and waste water treatment facilities for some hospitals. Besides those, the Ministry of Health had imported 25 small-scale incinerators from Austria to provide the central hospitals. Ho Chi Minh City People Committee had imported one incinerator with capacity of 7.0 tons/day from Austria for disposal of medical wastes for whole city.
2.6.            Environmental Technology Applications in the Craft Villages
At the present, there are about 2,971 craft villages in Vietnam, including rush, lacquer, bamboo and rattan, ceramics, embroidery, woven fabrics, wood carving, paper, wood printing, metal works and others.
Some environmental technology applications are as follows :
- Substitution of coal, woods in ceramic kilns by LPG.
- Use of biogas tanks for digestion of waste waters discharging from alcohol, tapioca craft villages.
- Use of physico-chemical treatment facilities for the textile and dyeing craft villages.
2.7.            Environmental Technology Applications in Rural Areas
Vietnam is a country with about 75% of population living in rural areas by agriculture production. At the present, there are more than 100,000 big farms in Vietnam. The processing industries in the areas are concentrated on agricultural product's processing (i.e. rice milling, surge cane, coffee, cashew nuts, maize, beans, peanuts, coconuts etc.) and forestry product's processing (i.e. wood, bamboo etc.). Every year, there are millions tons of agricultural wastes generated in the rural areas.
In the past years, there are some applications related to reuse and recycle of agricultural wastes, including :
- Reuse of agricultural wastes for culture of mushroom.
- Use of rice husk, bagasse, coconut fibre, wood shavings, cashew nut cover etc. for production of pressed boards.
- Fermentation of straw, bagasse to produce the animal food.
- Use of bagasse sludge to produce compost.
- Use of biogas tanks for digestion of animal's manure.
- Use of shrimp's shell for production of kitin glue.
2.8.            Environmental Technology Application in Ports and Harbors and Oil Exploitation Platform
At the present, there are hundreds ports and harbors in Vietnam. Besides those, there some offshore oil exploitation platforms. The potential pollution sources at the areas are oil spills. From 1994 to 1998, there were 34 oil spills amounting to 4,000 tons of spilled oil. The demands for environmental technology application are very big. However, in the fact, there are very little pollution control facilities installed at the areas. Some applications are as follows :
- Installation of oil separators .
- Use of oil adsorbent, oil dispersant .
- Use of oil spill response equipment (i.e. boom, skimmer etc.) .
- Use of microbiological additives for oil cleaning at some ports and harbors.
3.1. Legal Framework Development for Environmental Technology Promotion
Since the early 1990s important progress has been made in environmental analysis, planning, legislation, and capacity building of individuals and departments in the government at several levels. Vietnam's Law on Environmental Protection was adopted by the National Assembly on 27 December 1993 and came into effect on 10 January 1994.
Vietnam has also developed a National Strategy for Environmental Protection for the period 2001-2010. The main challenges that are addressed include: (a) increasing pressures on natural resource use and exploitation; (b) adverse environmental effects of accelerated industrialisation; (c) limited popular awareness of environment and sustainable development; and (d) limited environmental management capacities.
The highest priority programmes articulated in this strategy include to: (1) deal with the chemical aftermath of the war; (2) deal with ‘hotspots’, i.e. contaminating ‘old’ industries; (3) deal with hospital hazardous waste; (4) deal with city sewerage; (5) increase effectiveness of the legal system; (6) research and apply economic instruments for environmental management; and (7) increase environmental management capacities at all levels.
Over the past 10-15 years Vietnam adopted a number of laws, including Maritime Code (1990); Law on Forest Protection and development (1991) ;Law on Land and Territory (1993; amended 2001); Law on Environmental Protection (1993); Petroleum Law (1993; amended 1998); Law on Mineral Resources (1996); Law on Water Resources (1998).
Vietnam is also a signatory to many multilateral environmental agreements.
The Civil Code (1995) and Penal Code (1999) include articles on environmental protection, and highlight some sanctions. These laws were all followed by a range of Decrees, Decisions and Circulars that give more details and provide guidance for implementation. Important amongst those is a recent Decision Nr 64/2003/QĐ-TTg by the Prime Minister, with a detailed plan for dealing with 388 highly polluting industries across Vietnam that needs to be completed by the end of 2007. Other important legal document is the Government Decision No 67/2003/ND-CP issued on June 13, 2003 on charge of fees for waste water discharge, which is valid from January 01, 2004.
A system of environmental standards for air, surface and ground water quality has been established. Also, standards for certain discharges and emissions have been introduced. Regulations for the use of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) have been issued.
3.2. Strengthening of state environmental management capacity
Government Decree 91/2002/ND-CP specifies the functions, responsibilities, authorities and the organisational structure of the new Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, (MONRE). MONRE exercises the state function of management over the land, water resources, minerals, environment, meteorology, hydro geography, surveying or monitoring and mapping of national scope. It has the governance over the public services and acts as the owner of state capital in enterprises using state budgets relating to natural resources of land, water, minerals, environment, meteorology, hydro geography, surveying or monitoring and mapping specified by laws.
MONREs core departments regarding environment are Department of Environment (DOE), Department of Environment Impact Assessment and Appraisal (DEIAA). Vietnam Environmental Protection Agency (VEPA).
Vietnam Environmental Protection Agency (VEPA) supports MONREs leadership to implement the state environmental management activities in terms of environmental inspectorate and supervision, pollution prevention, environmental quality improvement, natural conservation, environmental technology promotion and public awareness enhancement.
All ministries are to collaborate with MONRE to carry out environmental management activities within their sector. There are other line ministries and central agencies dealing with natural resources and environment including Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Construction, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Fisheries etc.
At provincial level the People’s Committees (PC) exercise the state management function for environmental management in the province, and the Departments of Natural Resources and Environment (DONREs) are under the administrative authority of their respective PC, while MONRE/VEPA provides professional guidance regarding environmental protection and pollution prevention and control to the DONREs. The state management organizations on environmental protection at district and ward/commune level are being considered to establish in all provinces/cities.
Strengthening of the state environmental management capacity includes human resources as well as improvement of technical and physical resources at both central and local levels.
3.3. Strengthening of environmental education and awareness
One of the measures for environmental technology promotion is rising environmental education and awareness amongst the communities, enterprises, decision makers and managers at all levels.
Environmental awareness is outreached to all stakeholders through legal and environmental information propagation on mass media, including newspapers, radio and television and training courses.
Environmental protection is being "socialized" through various campaigns such as "Green-Clean –Beautiful", "Garden-Fishpond-Pen", "Garden-Fishpond-Pen-Forest", "Week of Clean Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation" etc.
3.4. Strengthening and diversification of environmental technology investment
In the past 10 years, the Government have spent over 2,000 billions of VND for environmental protection (equivalent to 0.25% GDP per year). The investment for environmental protection will be increased to 1% GDP/year by 2005 and 2% GDP/year by 2010.
Investment in environmental protection is being socialized on the "polluters pay principle". Investment is being diversified in terms of forms and sources with a view to mobilizing all available resources in the society for the environmental protection.
Environmental protection funds have been established, those are being mobilized from the state budget and contributions from enterprises, domestic donors as well as foreign donors.
The environmental protection funds will be used to provide financial supports for pollution control and prevention, remediation of environmental degradation and accidents and other environmental improvement projects.
3.5. Strengthening of environmental science research and technological development
In the period (1976-2005), there were being implemented six 5-year national research programs on environmental protection funded by the Government. Many research projects on environmental technology have been completed, those provided more optimal solutions to environmental protection and environmental management, policy-making, and introduction of advanced environmental technologies to solve pollution and degradation issues.
At the provincial level, many research projects on environmental technology have been implemented. The experience that have been got from the implementation of pollution control program in Ho Chi Minh City can be used in whole country. The program have been established and being implemented through the following steps:
(1). Preparation and publication of manuals on pollution control measures
Volume 1 : General Problems
Volume 2 : Boiler’s Air Emission Control
Volume 3 : Pollution Control for the Tannery Enterprises
Volume 4 : Pollution Control for the Textile and Dyeing Enterprises
Volume 5 : Pollution Control for the Melting and Foundry Enterprises
Volume 6 : Pollution Control for the Rubber Processing Enterprises
Volume 7 : Pollution Control for the Food Processing Enterprises
Volume 8 : Pollution Control for the Electroplating Enterprises
Volume 9 : Pollution Control for the Recycled Paper Mills.
Volume 10 : Noise and Vibration Pollution Comtrol
-          Manual on “Cleaner Production – The Matters Those You Would Like to Know but Could not to Ask”
-          Manual on “Introduction of the Best Practices on Pollution Control in Ho Chi Minh City”.
(2). Organization of training courses on pollution control technologies for the enterprise’s managers.
(3). Establishment of the Funds for Industrial Pollution Reduction.
(4). Preparation and approval of pollution control proposal.
(5). Preparation and approval of fund credit proposal
(6). Implementation of pollution control measures in the practice.
Establishment of the funds for industrial pollution reduction and loan with low interests are initiatives to promote the environmental technology applications in Vietnam. At the present, there are two funds in Ho Chi Minh City, those have been established and operated as follows :
(1). Revolving Funds for Industrial Pollution Reduction loaned from ADB
-          Total fund : 2.5 millions USD
-          Loan for each enterprise : 300,000 USD.
-          Lending time : minimum 3 years, maximum 7 years to reimburse, 1 year grace.
-          Lending percentage : 4% /year (in VND).
(2). Funds for Industrial Pollution Reduction (for SMEs)
-          Total fund : 1 million USD
-          Lending time: Maximum 3 years to reimburse, 1 year grace.
-          Lending percentage: 1.5% /year (in VND)
To ensure the effectiveness of environmental science research and technological development, an environmental research institution or network needs to be established and provided with adequate resources in order to enable to successfully undertake national level research mandates, focus on urgently demanding issues and catalyze environmental protection research nationwide.
3.6. Expansion of international cooperation and attraction of foreign financial assistance
Environmental protection in Vietnam is closely linked to international environmental treaties, bi- and multilateral environmental projects and programs. Vietnam has ratified and implemented 15 International Conventions on environment and sustainable development. Some international cooperation projects are mentioned below:
- Cooperation among ASEAN countries on environmental protection.
- UNDP is working in four main areas: (1) environmental management, which includes Agenda 21, development of environmental strategies and capacity building and education; (2) disaster management; (3) biodiversity; and (4) sustainable energy.
- The Asian Development Bank is mainly engaged in CZM and a pollution minimisation project in HCM City.
- The World Bank has been implementing a few projects in areas of waste water, training of DOSTE staff in Haiphong, and environmental rating models for heavy polluters. The Bank is planning to support the Government Environmental Protection fund with a loan in the range of USD 15 million for five years.
- CIDA is funding the Vietnam Canada Environment Project (VCEP), which is now in its second phase focusing on strengthening provincial and national agencies, enterprises and research institutions in areas of industrial pollution management. The programme is implemented in seven provinces with an annual budget of some USD 2 million.
- DANIDA has programmes in areas of biodiversity, solid waste management, Coastal Zone Management (CZM) and marine protection, capacity development and education in cooperation with UNDP, and a support to VEPA on environmental information and reporting. The budget is roughly DKK 50 million per year.
- The Netherlands is supporting integrated CZM in particular with a focus on the impact of global warming on coastal areas.
- Switzerland is through UNIDO funding centers for promotion of cleaner production
- SIDA is funding the Vietnam-Sweden Environmental Management Program (EMP), focusing on industrial pollution control and chemical safety.
- JICA is supporting the environmental protection projects, focusing on master plans for drainage, solid and hazardous waste disposal, pollution reduction in craft villages, pollution reduction in transportation sector.
ODA in the environmental sector reached USD 2 billion during the period 1985-2000 in Vietnam, with a rapid increase since 1996.
The authors present the state of environmental technology applications in Vietnam in the socio-economic development sectors including urbanization, industrialization, agriculture and rural development etc. Some measures for environmental technology promotion have been presented in this paper including legal framework development, building capacity, rising of environmental education and awareness, diversification of investment, strengthening of environmental science research and technological development, national and international cooperation.

[1].Department of Industry General Statistical Office; Results of survey on industry 1998, 400 pp; 1999, Statistical Publishing House.
[2]. General Department of Statistics; Some main parameters about scale and effectiveness of 1.9 millions of production and trade bases in Vietnam; 393 pp; 1997, Statistical Publishing House.
[3]. Phung Chi Sy, Le Dong Hai, Review on environmental situation at SMEs in Vietnam and proposal of pollution control measures; p.1-28; 1999, Proceedings of Workshop “ Study of the Appropriate Technologies for Pollution Control of Wastes discharged from SMEs”.
[4]. Phung Chi Sy, Le Dong Hai, Lam Minh Triet, Tran Hieu Nhue, Some Appropriate Technology for Pollution Control of Wastes discharged from SMEs; p.63-71; 2000, Proceedings of 3rd Workshop of the National Environmental Program (KHCN.07).
[5]. National Strategy For Environmental Protection 2001-2010, Hanoi, June 2000, 54 pp.
[6]. Vietnam Orienting Plan for Priority Programs of Environmental Protection 2001-2005, Hanoi 2000, 120 pp.
[7]. Ministry of Science Technology and Environment/ National Environmental Agency. National Action Plan of Cleaner Production (2001-2005), Hanoi May, 2002.
[8]. Vietnam – Sweden Environmental Management and Land Administration Development Programme- Overall Programme Document (Draft), Hanoi-Stockholm 2003.
[9]. Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. State of the Environment , Hanoi, 2003, 36 pp.
[10]. The Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Sustainable Development in Vietnam- A review of the past ten years and the path ahead, Johannesburg, South Africa, 24 August – 4 September 2002.
[11]. SIDA, Study on Environmental Issues related to the sustainable development of a modern sector in Vietnam and possible areas for Swedish support. Final report, March 2002,

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