Nearly 40% of IPs lack wastewater treatment systems
By Van Nam - The Saigon Times Daily
HCMC – There are currently 232 industrial parks nationwide discharging a combined wastewater volume of one million cubic meters per day, but only 143 IPs, or 61%, have built wastewater treatment facilities, said the environment watchdog.
IPs generate 40% of the national industrial production value, contribute 60% of export goods, and create jobs for more than two million laborers, said Major-General Nguyen Xuan Ly, head of the Department of Environmental Crime Control under the Ministry of Public Security.
Still, several localities have tried to lure investors into IPs at all costs, resulting in severe environmental consequences and damaging the health of local residents, Ly told a workshop on wastewater treatment at IPs held by his department on Monday.
According to the department, the number of residents and laborers at IPs catching respiratory, gastrointestinal and cardiovascular diseases tends to pick up due to environmental pollution. This is not to mention the farmland area being encroached by IP development.
The surface water quality in the areas affected by IP wastewater has deteriorated.
“With pipes buried underground and wastewater discharged directly into the river basin, the Day River has died, while the Cau River, the Dong Nai River and the Saigon River are almost dead,” said Ly,
Luong Dai Thuy, deputy head of the Dong Nai environment police department, said there are now some 1,200 operational projects in the province with a total investment capital of around US$16 billion. However, many projects still apply out-of-date technology, leading to incomplete wastewater treatment.
Dong Nai’s environment police have detected well-concealed violations such as pumping wastewater into fire fighting tanks, wells or underground, diluting wastewater with cooling water before discharging into the environment, or discharging wastewater when it is raining.
Under the law on administrative sanctions to come into force on July 1 next year, the maximum penalty for environmental violations will be VND2 billion, instead of the current VND500 million.
The Ministry of Public Security is coordinating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to revise the 2005 Environment Protection Law and map out an Ordinance on the Vietnam Environment Police, expected to be issued in the third quarter of 2013.
Ly of the Ministry of Public Security requested local environment police agencies to inspect environmental protection at IPs. In the coming time, his department will sign an order to press formal charges against some environmental violations at IPs under Circular 04 of the environment ministry.
Ly also remarked hazardous waste trading is now very bustling at many IPs, because harmful waste treatment is a highly profitable business sector. Some enterprises even import wastes from Taiwan to process.