Saigon residents accuse notorious landfill site of polluting waterways, again

By Huu Nguyen   October 4, 2017 | 04:00 am PT
Saigon residents accuse notorious landfill site of polluting waterways, again
A photo captured by people near Da Phuoc landfill shows foamy water leaked from the site into the environment.
The operator claims the foaming, strange-smelling liquid locals have spotted is just a mixture of water and sand.

Dozens of protesters gathered outside the notorious Da Phuoc landfill site on the outskirts of Saigon earlier this week after foaming waste water from the site was spotted leaking into local waterways.

The disgruntled locals blocked the entrance to the site in Binh Chanh District from Monday night through to the next morning, preventing garbage trucks from entering.

They said the strange-smelling water was a threat to their health and their fish farms, and demanded an explanation from Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS), the site's operator.


People sit at the gate of the landfill site in Binh Chanh District on Monday night.

Officials from the city’s environment department have taken samples for testing, and the protesters were later dispersed by district police.

Kevin Moore, the American managing director of VWS, denied the foaming water was sewage in a statement sent to the city’s government, saying instead that it was a mixture of sand and water that had been washed away by heavy rain while it was being pumped into the site for construction purposes.

He said that test results will be available in a week.

The company also criticized locals for spreading rumors of pollution and staging a protest that scared hundreds of its workers.

The $107-million Da Phuoc site, covering 138 hectares (341 acres), is about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of the city center and was the culprit behind a stench that plagued the city’s southern suburbs for months last year.

The smell got particularly bad overnight and during the rainy season between July and September.

Last June, Vietnam’s environment ministry fined the company more than VND1.5 billion ($66,100) for illegally discharging sewage, accusing it of failing to build sewage treatment facilities and discharging sewage that exceeded safety limits.

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