Chinese $1.2-billion paper plant under inspection

By Toan Dao   June 27, 2016 | 08:28 am GMT+7

Vietnam’s Natural Resources and Environment has decided to inspect a Chinese paper manufacturing plant in the southern province of Hau Giang following media reports about its possible environmental damage to the Mekong River.

The inspection, which will be conducted by the Department of Environment and relevant agencies from Hau Giang, will begin at the Lee&Man Paper Manufacturing Company from July 1, according to a statement from the ministry on Sunday.

After the project on the banks of the Hau River, a tributary of the Mekong River in Vietnam, is completed in August this year, it could discharge up to 28,500 tons of sodium hydroxide per year. Given that, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has sent an urgent dispatch to the Prime Minister asking for the treatment system to be inspected at the Lee&Man plant.

Minister Tran Hong Ha said in the statement the project, which began construction in March last year, is likely to pose potential risks to the environment if the investor fails to strictly implement local regulations about environmental protection.

The Lee&Man Paper Manufacturing Company. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long

The Lee&Man Paper Manufacturing Company. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long

The ministry’s inspection team will focus on how the company’s environmental impact assessment, discharge permission, processed wastewater quality, wastewater treatment technology have been approved. Lee&Man will also be checked for its obeyance in carrying out regulations in the environmental impact assessment and discharge permission; its plans in design, construction and trial runs of the project.

Lastly, the team will check the plant’s schemes and projects for responding to environmental incidents. Its automatic monitoring systems must be connected online with local authorities’ ones and ensure that processed wastewater meets Vietnam’s environmental standards. The systems must be easily accessible and put under the supervision of local people, too, the statement said.

Minister Ha calls for strict punishment of any relevant organization or individual if violations are found during the inspection. The inspection team is also asked to recommend the time frame that the government should allow the plant to begin trial runs and actions (if any) that Lee&Man must implement before the trial operations.

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