In March 2015, the Lee&Man Paper Manufacturing Company's Vietnam branch started construction of a paper plant on the banks of the Hau River, a tributary of the Mekong River in Vietnam. After it is completed in August this year, the plant could discharge up to 28,500 tons of sodium hydroxide per year.
The biggest paper plant in Vietnam. Photo by VnEpxress/Cuu Long
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.
They claimed that sodium hydroxide produced by the plant could kill marine life while there are no modern waste water treatment centers in the region.
“With that massive amount of waste, the plant could ‘kill’ the Hau River,” the association said, adding that if waste water discharged into the Hau River flows into the sea, the whole Mekong Delta region will be affected.
To handle questions about the environmental impact the plant could have, Lee&Man held a press conference on June 23 to outline its waste water treatment process and pledge to follow Vietnam’s regulations on waste treatment.
Chung Wai Fu, general director of the plant present wastewater treatment process. Photo by VnExpress/Cuu Long
General Director Chung Wai Fu admitted the company had not submitted a report on the overall impacts of the plant on the environment, but said all aspects of the project were legally licensed and had accounted for environmental effects.
In 2007, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers asked authorities to comment on the decision to license the Lee&Man plant. In response, the Vietnam Administration of Forestries said that under the master plan to develop Vietnam’s paper industry until 2010 with a vision to 2020, there was no provision for a paper producing zone in the Mekong region.