Global coffee exporter fined $18,700 for discharging toxic waste in southern Vietnam

By VnExpress   June 21, 2017 | 06:29 pm PT
A secret pipeline spewing untreated waste into a local river was uncovered during a snap inspection.

Authorities in the central  highland province of Lam Dong fined a coffee export company on Wednesday for illegally discharging toxic waste, according to Tuoi Tre newspaper.

Inspectors discovered high levels of pollutants in the waste discharged by Atlantic Commodities Vietnam Co. Ltd. (ACOM) from its factory in Bao Loc City. The concentrations of microorganisms, organic and inorganic pollutants released were all more than five times above the permitted levels.

The company was found to have installed an unauthorized pipeline to discharge untreated wastewater directly into the environment. Its failure to use the factory's approved waste treatment facilities had resulted in polluted water being discharged into the Dai Binh River, inspectors said.

The violations may have been going on for some time, and were only recently uncovered during a snap inspection by officials in Lam Dong.

The company was fined a total of VND425 million ($18,700) for breaking environmental regulations. Authorities also instructed the company to dismantle its unauthorized waste pipes and come up with measures to repair the damage it had caused.

ACOM is a member of ECOM Agroindustrial, a global commodity trading and processing company. Founded in 2002, ACOM is a processor and exporter of Vietnamese coffee and cocoa, with two processing plants in Lam Dong Province and one in the Central Highland province of Gia Lai.

Vietnam reported 50 illegal discharges of toxic waste in 2016, 60 percent of which were foreign-invested firms, according to official data.

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