The Lee & Man mill, a USD-1.2 billion project developed by Hong Kong’s Lee & Man Paper, began test running in December 2016, but was asked to cease operations just one month later for inspections to be carried out on its ability to meet environmental safety standards.
A worker of a steel plant in Vietnam
For residents who live only 200m away from the plant, daily life has become a challenge, thanks to the facility’s unbearable pollution. They every day suffer from the daily nuisance of coal dust, 24/7 noise from running machines, and the filthy smell from the plant. Some people even had to cover with bags to sleep.
Meanwhile, earlier, director of the plant Patrick Chung affirmed that the project uses the most advanced waste treatment system in the world.
Taiwanese-invested Dai Duong Paper project in Tien Giang Province, which was licensed in 2016 with a total investment of VND5 trillion (USD227.2 million), is also facing the public concerns for its possible impacts on the environment, including Tien River.
According to many scientists, Tien Giang should revoke the license of the project to avoid environmental problems. The project would discharge 5,000 cubic metres of wastewater a day based on data of the provincial environment department. Its wastewater would contain toxic substances such as chlorine compounds that are dangerous to human health and the environment.
If it is discharged into Tien River, it would cause an environmental disaster as the river is the main source of water for daily household activities, agricultural and seafood farming, and tourism, the subsistence livelihoods of millions of people in the delta.
Currently, Vietnam’s spearhead industries still focus on coal, petroleum, cement, steel, hydro-power plants and chemical production which pose high risks of environmental pollution.
Experts worried that if Vietnam continues this way of industrial development, Vietnam would surpass China in terms of environmental pollution and become among top 10 countries of the highest environmental pollution level in the world.
Vietnam has not seriously contributed to global warming while it is among the 25 low and middle-income countries that release the most greenhouse gases every year.
According to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong, in order to reduce the negative impacts of environmental factors on GDP growth, it’s crucial to conduct intensive studies on Vietnam’s GDP growth in the medium term, with consideration of environmental factors.
He said it was vital for the country to restructure the economy by reducing industries relying on natural resources, particularly non-renewable resources, and those of low added value and economic efficiency.