Toxic waste gushing into Vietnam's rivers and lakes - report

By VnExpress   March 23, 2017 | 12:00 am GMT+7

The country's industrial zones release 2 mln cubic meters of untreated wastewater every day.

A new environment report paints a very bleak picture of Vietnam’s wastewater treatment, saying it only manages to treat a small percentage of the daily discharge from the country's industrial zones.

Figures from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources showed that more than 600 industrial zones across the country release more than three million cubic meters of wastewater every day, but 70 percent of it goes untreated, Tien Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

That means more than two million cubic meters of sewage, equivalent to the capacity of 800 Olympic swimming pools, goes straight into rivers and lakes every day.

Medical sewage is also a problem. Hospitals and medical centers across the country reportedly discharge 150,000 cubic meters of sewage a day. Around half of the hospitals do not have waste treatment facilities, said the ministry.

The new figures were released ahead of World Water Day, which this year fell on Wednesday. The U.N. has chosen “Wastewater” as the theme for this year, as it calls for a reduction in wastewater and more water recycling to achieve the global goal of giving everyone access to safe water by 2030.

The environment ministry reported 50 major cases of illegal discharges of toxic waste in 2016, including the infamous Formosa spill which was dubbed Vietnam's biggest ever environmental disaster. Foreign companies accounted for 60 percent of the polluters, and VND132 billion ($5.8 million) in fines were handed out.

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