Authorities clueless on location of Sonadezi toxic waste

The Sonadezi Company had earlier agreed to cart the entire 5,316 tons of toxic waste from its premises to a waste treatment complex in Thong Nhat District, but local authorities are clueless about this.   

Site to bury toxic waste at the Quang Trung waste treatment complex is still under construction in Thong Nhat District of Dong Nai Province (Photo: SGGP)

When Sai Gon Giai Phong (SGGP) Newspaper asked Phan Van Trong, chairman of the People’s Committee in Giang Dien Commune whether the 5,000 tons of toxic waste had been moved from the commune, he looked puzzled and deployed an official to check out the facts of the case.

Visiting the 3,000 square meter dump site where Sonadezi had earlier piled up the toxic waste, the reporters found the site as vacant land.

The property had been handed over to the Giang Dien Industrial Zone (IZ) Service Company, part of the Sonadezi Company. An official of Giang Dien IZ confirmed that he had heard about the 5,000 tons of waste stored there earlier, but now he had no idea where it went.

Le Viet Hung, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that the waste had been removed a long time back but he too didn’t know where it had been moved.

Truong Ngoc Quang, director of the Environment Protection Department, said he had just taken his new post a month ago and had no knowledge where the waste was and had just heard that it had been moved to the Quang Trung waste treatment complex in Thong Nhat District.

When SGGP reporters entered the partially constructed complex, only the site to bury household waste from five communes of the district was complete and operating since August. The facility to bury toxic waste was still under construction. The oven to burn toxic waste was also not completely ready and operating perfunctorily due to unsteady power supply.

Two trucks containing white bags containing an estimated 1,000 tons of substance were sighted inside a 2,000 square meter warehouse in the complex, said to be the dump for toxic waste.

According to SGGP reporters, these bags could have solid waste from Giang Dien Commune and Bien Hoa 2 IZ. However, if the bags contained the toxic waste, they are only part of the 5,316 tons that Sonadezi pledged to treat at Quang Trung complex. Thus a question arises as to where the remainder of the 5,316 tons of waste is.

According to a Circular issued by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, relevant authorities must closely monitor collecting, transporting and treatment of toxic waste.

However, relevant authorities including the director of the Department of Natural Resources and Environment and head of the Environment Protection Department said that they didn’t know the exact location of the 5,316 tons of toxic waste.

Bui Van Thien, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee in Quang Trung Commune said the Quang Trung waste treatment complex has come into operation since August and just receives household waste from five communes in Thong Nhat District. The construction work in the complex is not yet complete, thus it cannot receive any toxic waste for treatment, he said.

Related article:
Sonadezi treating toxic waste under dubious license

By Hoai Nam- Translated by Hai Mien

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