Long Thanh airport construction causes excessive air pollution

By Phuoc Tuan   December 31, 2022 | 04:12 am PT
Long Thanh airport construction causes excessive air pollution
Dusty construction at the future Long Thanh airport in Dong Nai Province. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan
Dust pollution at the construction site of Long Thanh, slated to be Vietnam's largest airport in the southern Dong Nai Province, exceeded permitted levels by multiple times, inspections found.

Regular inspections by Dong Nai Department of Natural Resources and Environment between April and October found dust pollution at the site was between 1.02 and 18.32 times more than permitted levels.

The construction started in January this year and its dust pollution has severely affected local life and threatened people's health, it said.

Nguyen Ngoc Thuong, deputy director of the department, said Saturday it has reported the issue to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, and asked the ministry to conduct its own inspection over the compliance of environment regulations at the site.

The department said it has publicized the pollution figures many times and demanded that the Airport Corporation of Vietnam, the project’s investor, take measures to protect the environment. But the situation persisted, and has angered local people.

Trucks carrying soil at Long Thanh airport construction site. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

Trucks carrying soil at Long Thanh airport construction site. Photo by VnExpress/Phuoc Tuan

In its environment impact report approved by the environment ministry in 2019, the project investor proposed various measures to reduce dust pollution during construction, such as fencing the constuction area, dampening the material storage area, covering transport vehicles and transporting materials at night.

Do Tat Binh, deputy general director of ACV, said all contractors have been required to take measures to reduce air pollution, but the spread of dust is inevitable during the site clearance phase.

"The dust is only bad in the dry season when we speed up construction with more than 1,800 vehicles and machines operating at the same time, we hope people understand," Binh said.

He said site clearance is expected to be 70% complete by March, when the construction area will be narrowed down, and the dust problem will be solved.

Costing an estimated total of VND336.63 trillion (US$14.2 billion), the Long Thanh airport is designed to serve 100 million passengers and five million tons of cargo per year.

According to the project's official schedule, the airport's first phase would be put into use in 2025, allowing it to serve 25 million passengers a year.

Once operational, the airport would replace HCMC's Tan Son Nhat as the largest and busiest airport in Vietnam.

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