Long Thanh Airport investor fined for dust pollution

By Phuoc Tuan, Gia Chinh   April 26, 2023 | 01:43 am PT
Long Thanh Airport investor fined for dust pollution
Binh Son Commune in Long Thanh District of Dong Nai Province is covered in dust from Long Thanh airport project, March 28, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam has been fined VND180 million (US$7,670) for dust pollution during the construction of Long Thanh Airport, slated to be Vietnam's largest.

According to inspectors from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Airports Corporation of Vietnam (ACV), a 95% state-owned joint-stock company, failed to spray water adequately during the process of leveling the ground on an area of more than 2,500 hectares at the airport site in southern Dong Nai Province.

As a result, dust spread all over nearby residential areas. In some cases, dust was recorded 10 km away from the project.

In many cases, houses, schools, and trees were covered in a layer of red dust and many people had to use nets or plastic sheets to shield their houses.

Dust generated from the project causes pollution that exceeds safety standards by up to tenfold, according to inspectors.

Aside from the fine for air pollution, the ACV was fined VND90 million for failing to implement the environmental impact assessment report as approved by the ministry.

Specifically, it has yet to build reservoirs to store rainwater, drainage system and sediment basins, or temporary ponds to capture eroded or disturbed soil that is washed off during rainstorms or protect the water quality of nearby waterways or lakes.

Earlier this month, the ACV announced that it will spend VND300 million to fund the installation of air conditioners at schools that have been affected by dust from the construction site.

After installing the air conditioners, schools will close all windows and doors, which will shield students and teachers from the dust.

The move came after ACV built 10 reservoirs with a capacity of 1,200 cubic meters to provide water, which will be pumped from wells, for 60 trucks, including two fire trucks, to spray the ground and keep dust at bay.

The suspension of the project is not an acceptable solution as Long Thanh Airport is one of the nation’s most crucial projects that must be completed swiftly, said the environment ministry.

The project, spanning 5,000 ha, has an expected investment capital of around VND336.6 trillion ($14.3 billion).

The first phase of the project, which started in 2021, includes the construction of a runway, terminal and accompanying infrastructure, with a capacity for 25 million visitors a year.

Once in operation, it will replace HCMC's Tan Son Nhat as Vietnam's largest airport.

Residents besieged by dust storms from construction of Vietnam's largest airport. Video by Vu Thinh, Phuoc Tuan

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