HCMC faces alarming environmental pollution from industrial waste

Instead of signing contracts with waste treatment companies, many business households, production establishments and enterprises in HCMC have hired trucks to carry waste to sneakily dump into rivers, canals or places with few inhabitants to save costs. Meantime, sanctions as well as solutions to tackle the issue have proved ineffective.

Industrial waste sneakily dumped in a road in Vinh Loc A commune, Binh Chanh district
Industrial waste sneakily dumped in a road in Vinh Loc A commune, Binh Chanh district
Director of Natural Resources and Environment Department Nguyen Toan Thang said that about 2,300 tons of waste are thrown into the environment a day.
At 8a.m. on October 16, Tran Thanh Tam from Vinh Loc B, Binh Chanh district was caught red handed dumping industrial waste such as coconut residue, leather, nylon bags and cloth scrap from his motor tricycle into a vacant land in the commune.
In the statement with authorized agencies, Tam said that the owners of three footwear, clothe and weaving and dying establishments hired him to transport the waste to dump in the vacant land at the price of VND100,000.
He has many times smoothly dumped the waste in Trung Uong canal and areas in the adjacent of Vinh Loc A and Vinh Loc B communes.
According to Natural Resources and Environment Department in Binh Chanh, the agency has spotted and handled nearly 100 cases in which residents and business owners throwing industrial waste into the environment, issuing penalties nearing VND400 million.
The number of business households and enterprises who have not signed contracts with waste treatment firms account for 40 percent of the total number of businesses operating in the district.
Deputy head of the agency in District 8 Nguyen Hong Lam said that they have handled 21 cases of waste dumping in vacant land plots and roads and issued VND319 million penalty.
Mr. Lam said that the district has implemented lot of measures to tackle the issue but at present only 70 percent of industrial waste is treated.
The issue has also taken place in Districts 9, Thu Duc, Tan Phu, 12, Binh Thanh and Hoc Mon.
A vacant land plot in the adjacent between Long Binh and Thanh My wards, District 9, receives over tens of trucks and motor tricycles transporting waste to dump in the area a day. Various types of waste have been piled up there.
Local woman Dang Thi Loan says that she has many times reported the issue to local authorities and they have sent officials to stop waste transport vehicles in the road but the these efforts have cut no ice. Some local people set fire to burn the garbage causing smelly toxic gas spread over a wide area.
Local authorities and authorized agencies have applied lot of measures to tackle the issue without efficiency as expected.
The representative of Hoc Mon People’s Committee admitted that the district Party Committee has given the policy to mobilize residents and businesses not to dump industrial waste into the environment and sign contracts with waste treatment businesses since early 2017. However, few communal people’s committees, social political organizations have implemented the policy.
Communal authorities have drastically penalized violators but the volume of waste dropped into the environment has not reduced, said the representative.
Mr. Ngo Nguyen Hong, deputy head of Binh Chanh district Natural Resources and Environment Department, said that the number of civil servants and officials in charge of environment is thin. In addition, waste has mainly been thrown at night so it has been difficult for officials to spot and handle.
In addition, penalty has been low swinging from VND3-5 million so has not been deterrent enough to push back violations.
Mr. Nguyen Van Duc, owner of a garment establishment in Vinh Loc A commune, Binh Chanh said that previously he signed contract with a treatment unit to collect about two tons of cloth scrap a month. Still he has recently decided to end the contract.
“I spends over one million dong to handle the waste a month but staff of the treatment unit used small alleys as a pretex to ask him to transport the waste to the nearby road instead of coming to his establishment to do so. Hence he has ended the contracts and hired motor tricycles to transport the waste to dump into the environment with the cost of only VND100 a trip.
After he stopped signing the contract, environmental officials in the district came to mobilize him to resume it but he refused saying the volume of waste from his establishment was little.

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