HCMC asked to clean up its waste treatment act

By Trung Son   January 17, 2021 | 09:45 pm GMT+7
HCMC asked to clean up its waste treatment act
Bags of trash are dumped on a street in Ho Chi Minh City, July 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has asked HCMC to deal firmly with environmental pollution caused by two major waste treatment facilities.

The ministry's order was prompted by numerous residents complaining about the environmental pollution caused by the Tam Sinh Nghia Investment Development Joint Stock Company and the Vietstar Joint Stock Company in Cu Chi District.

Inspections by the ministry’s Vietnam Environment Administration found that the two companies have been polluting the environment since 2018 and that no measure has been taken to address the problem.

Vietstar’s waste treatment plant has a daily capacity of 1,400 tons. However, on December 16 last year, it was found that the company collected up to 2,000 tons a day. It has been slapped with a fine of VND296 million ($12,800), but whether that has been enough to change its behavior is not known.

The company stored about 160,000 tons of inert waste in two yards covering 32,000 square meters. Many areas of the yards were not covered, and the waste lay exposed. Leachate from the two yards was collected in a trench and the polluted water seeped into the soil.

Similarly, in 2018, the Tam Sinh Nghia Company was found receiving 200 tons more than its daily capacity of handling 1,000 tons of waste per day. It ignored warnings from the authorities and was found receiving 1,300 tons on December 16 last year.

The company stored 240,000 tons of waste in an outdoor area of more than 63,000 square meters. Here, too, many areas were not well covered, stinking up the neighborhood. Leachate that was not collected seeped into the soil and flowed into a lake on the company’s premises.

The ministry said the companies should be ordered to collect garbage in accordance with their designed capacity and other measures taken to deal with all the residual waste. It has advised that modern processing technology is used to treat the waste.

Ho Chi Minh City discharges around 9,300 tons of domestic waste per day, the municipal Environment Department said last year.

It has three waste treatment plants that have to handle 8,700 tons of domestic waste discharged by a population of 13 million each day. The Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facility of Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS) receives 5,700 tons and buries most of it.

The Tam Sinh Nghia Company and Vietstar handle the rest in Cu Chi District by burning and making compost.

Many landfills in Vietnam do not meet environmental requirements and upset people living nearby, said Nguyen Thuong Hien, head of the Vietnam Environment Administration’s waste management department.

There is no solid waste treatment model in the country that meets all technical, economic, social, and environmental requirements, he said, adding that burying most of the waste not only pollutes the environment but also means the country cannot recycle its trash.

Vietnam produces 25.5 million tons of solid waste a year, of which 75 percent is buried.

Major landfills in big cities like HCMC, Da Nang and Hanoi have become overloaded and are affecting people's lives adversely.

Hanoi and HCMC spend VND1.2-1.5 trillion ($52-65 million) a year each, or around 3.5 percent of their budget, on collecting and treating garbage.

 
 
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