The Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment says that despite finding numerous cases of companies causing industrial pollution, violators seem to be let off with a mere fine.
|Waste water released after treatment at Tan Tao Industrial Zone. (Photo:SGGP)|
The department believes that more severe measures need to be taken such as a revoking of license or even prosecution. A case in point is the MTV public utility company in Cat Lai 2 Industrial Zone in District 2. The company had built a waste treatment system with a capacity of 600 cubic meters per day, however wastes released after treatment were not effectively processed. Although a waste treatment plant of 3,000 cubic meters per day capacity was built in Hiep Phuoc Industrial Zone, wastes released after treatment were three times higher than the permitted levels.
The same situation occurs in other industrial zones such as Tan Tao, Tan Thoi Hiep, Tay Bac Cu Chi and Binh Chieu. These industrial zones have waste treatment systems with capacity of 1,000 cubic meters per day, but wastes released after treatment are often 7 times higher than permitted levels.
A representative from the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that the department has penalized a total of VND330 million (US$16,500). Hiep Phuoc, Cat Lai 2 and Binh Chieu industrial zones were fined VND75 million each and other industrial zones were penalized VND35 million each. In addition, violators were asked to repair their waste treatment systems within 30 days.
Nguyen Thi Du, chief inspector of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment said currently it is difficult to stop operations or revoke licenses of violators because operations of hundreds of companies will be immediately affected.
According to Nguyen Van Phuoc, deputy director of the city Department of Natural Resources and Environment, the city authorities will require 15 industrial zones and export processing zones to build waste treatment systems and all waste released after treatment has to meet environmental standards.
The city plans to step up the checking of violators in the industrial zones and punish those who break environment regulations. The city will also build automatic observation stations to check the quality of waste in industrial zones. However, the city authorities need to consider stricter measures to punish violators by revoking their license or stopping their operations as a warning to others.