Central Highlands Bauxite exploitation raises environmental warning
  • | dtinews.vn, GTVT | August 02, 2016 05:29 PM
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Several Vietnamese experts have expressed severe concern that alkaline spills in bauxite exploitation in the Central Highlands could lead to environmental disasters on the same scale as caused by Formosa's recent toxic waste discharge in the central region.

The concern has been raised following the alkaline spill accident at Nhan Co Alumina Plant in Dak Nong Province on July 23 this year. It was reported that 9.58 cubic metres of alkaline already spilled out covered 600 square metres before the incident was put under control. Unluckily, a small amount had got into the sewerage which leads to Dak Dao Stream.


Nhan Co Alumina Plant in Dak Nong Province

The polluted water killed shrimp and fish immediately. According to the locals, the water had turned black and greasy and they had severe skin reactions when coming into contact with the water.

To date, dozens of people living along Dak Dao Streem have been affected by the accident. However, Vice Chairman of Dak Nong Province Truong Thanh Hung said that provincial authorities have not yet received any report about the case from the Dak R'lap District.

“We’ll inspect the case to find the cause of the accident, so, now it is impossible to say when the problem can be dealt with as well as the compensation for local people," Thanh said.

Dak Nong Aluminum Company, which is responsible for the alumina plant, had mobilised equipment to collect and treat the spilt chemicals. It also requested Chinese contractor Chalieco to revise the entire design, equipment, and construction of the plant and then make a detailed evaluation report on the incident to prevent similar mishaps.

According to Do Thanh Bai from the Vietnam Chemistry Association, the spilled chemicals are must be highly toxic if they can kill fish and cause skin diseases. He said this was a major alarm over bauxite exploitation in the Central Highlands region.

Dr. Nguyen Van Pho from the Vietnam Institute of Geosciences And Mineral Resources said that red mud contains a high content of alkaline which has a very bad impact on the environment. Until now, no country in the world has successfully treated red mud.

Meanwhile, many big rivers originate from the Central Highlands and flow into southern central and southern regions. So, once alkaline spill happen, it could affect these rivers and pose environmental risks which are also as dangerous as the disaster caused by as the recent toxic waste discharge by Formosa Hung Nghiep Steel Co. in central localities, Pho added.

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