Concrete maker proposes industrial complex adjoining world-recognized national park

By Ngoc Tai   May 30, 2022 | 04:24 pm PT
Concrete maker proposes industrial complex adjoining world-recognized national park
Aerial view of the Tram Chim National Park in Dong Thap Province in the Mekong Delta. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Tai
A concrete maker in the Mekong Delta has proposed the building of an industrial complex next to a world-recognized national park, despite warnings of severely negative environmental impacts.

The proposal submitted by the Ha Thanh Concrete Company in Dong Thap Province would have the industrial complex span 60 ha in Tam Nong District, where the company has already built a VND1 trillion ($43.1 million) glazed tile factory on 25 ha a year ago.

Besides the proposal for the industrial complex, the company has received approval for surveying an area in front of it to extract a clay pit, around 10 ha of it being agricultural land.

The project's investor has already submitted an environmental impact evaluation report and is awaiting approval.

The complex, which would be situated right next to the factory, would expand towards the Tram Chim National Park, a designated wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention. The park spans 7,500 ha with around 230 species of birds, 130 species of fish and 130 species of plants.

It is also a long-time haven of the rare red-crowned crane, which often seeks food near the intended location of the industrial complex.

Due to the possible involvement of the national park, the park's director has requested for experts from the Mekong Conservation Fund (MCF) and the Center for Environmental Science and Ecology (CESE) to evaluate the impacts of the proposed industrial complex.

Duong Van Ni, who's with the MCF and has spent years on conservation efforts for the Tram Chim National Park, said the industrial complex would be inside the national park's buffer zone and would only be 300-700 m from the actual park. That would violate the Law for Biodiversity and become a threat to the Ramsar site, he said.

The industrial complex would produce noise, affecting bird behavior and causing several species to move away. Emissions from the complex would contain sulfur, which would affect the ecosystem by triggering acid rains, Ni said.

According to a report sent to the Dong Thap People’s Committee by the survey team, wastewater would eventually seep into the environment, despite the concrete company's proposal to contain and treat it inside the industrial complex.

The Tram Chim National Park is a Ramsar site because it satisfies several environmental and socio-economic conditions. Building the industrial complex would violate those conditions, Ni said.

"There is a risk that the Tram Chim National Park would no longer be considered a Ramsar site," he added.

Dong Thap authorities, while agreeing with the fact that the construction of the industrial complex is in line with the current industrial development trend and would create more jobs, said they were also concerned about its possible impacts on the Tram Chim National Park.

As such, the province has not settled on an exact location for the Ha Thanh Company's proposed industrial complex.

Authorities said they would work with the company to adjust the location of the complex. No final decision has been reached on this issue.

Spread over 7,500 hectares, Tram Chim is recognized under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance, the fourth in Vietnam, and 2,000th in the world.

The convention is an intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for national action and international cooperation in the conservation and wise use of wetlands and their resources.

The park is a usual feeding ground for the red-crowned crane, which is listed on the IUCN Red List. But the bird species has not returned to the park in years due to humans affecting their natural habitat.

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