Saigon to give public access to monitor polluting landfill sites

By Trung Son   June 12, 2017 | 01:56 am PT
Landfill operators have been threatened with closure unless they clean up their acts.

Ho Chi Minh City has ordered authorities that manage its four biggest landfill sites to allow the public access to the sites in a bid to increase transparency following suspicions that at least one of the landfills is responsible for a stench that has been covering the south of the city.

Announced during a meeting held on Sunday by local authorities, the order specified that the Da Phuoc, Vietstar, Tam Sinh Nghia and Phuoc Hiep landfill sites must be open for public inspection.

Le Van Khoa, deputy chair of HCMC People's Committee, said the order comes in response to a number of pollution cases recently caused by the sites.

Khoa cited the most recent case at Da Phuoc, the city’s largest landfill site, which received a fine of VND1.6 billion ($66,000) just last week for illegally discharging sewage. The site is believed to be behind a stench that has plagued the city’s southern suburbs for months, causing waves of complaints from local residents.

Having received reports of the stench since last year, municipal authorities have asked Vietnam Waste Solutions, Inc., an investor at the Da Phuoc site, to come up with solutions to solve the problem, including adopting modern processing technology to treat the waste.

Khoa also said authorities will review all local waste treatment projects by the end of July and demand environmental reports before the year-end. "Any waste treatment unit that does not comply will be closed down," he said.

These measures are aimed at sending a signal to the sites' management authorities to demand better services that mitigate environmental impacts.

The city is also pushing for at least 50 percent of garbage to be segregated at source by 2020.

About 8,300 tons of solid waste is discharged in the city every day, and 76 percent of that ends up getting buried, according to the city's environment department.

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