Over a hundred polluting factories remain in Hanoi

By Nguyen Ha   September 8, 2019 | 07:50 pm PT
Over a hundred polluting factories remain in Hanoi
Drone shot of a soap factory in Thanh Xuan, an inner city district of Hanoi. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.
A recent warehouse fire has drawn public attention to 113 polluting factories that should have moved out of Hanoi years ago.

Clusters of factories producing rubber, cigarettes, light bulbs, and shoes still remain in Hanoi although the government had approved a plan to move polluting production facilities out of the city.

But things remained in limbo until a fire broke out at the Rang Dong light bulb warehouse in Thanh Xuan District late last month, releasing an estimated 27 kg of mercury into the surrounding area, forcing many people living in its vicinity to move out.

Many factories, including a rubber plant and a tobacco factory in the district, have been included in the Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s list of worst polluting facilities that are affecting people’s lives.

Some companies themselves have had relocation plans for years but without implementing them, causing the public to repeatedly complain about pollution.

For instance, a spokesperson for the wholly state-owned Thang Long Tobacco Company said the relocation of the firm’s Hanoi factory had been approved nine years ago but funds have yet to be allotted for it.

Similarly, a plan by Sao Vang Rubber JSC to move a factory approved over a decade ago has been discussed at every annual general meeting of the company but never implemented.

According to company executives, Sao Vang’s controlling shareholder, state-owned chemical company Vinachem, has approved the relocation but approval for the method of relocation is required from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which has so far remained silent about the matter.

A report published in 2016 said Hanoi originally planned to move 117 polluting facilities in 12 districts out of the city by 2020. But in 2018 the city admitted only four facilities had relocated.

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