Vietnam seafood association says Chinese plant threatens to "kill" Mekong river

By Thi Ha   June 21, 2016 | 02:40 pm GMT+7
Vietnam seafood association says Chinese plant threatens to "kill" Mekong river
Fruit sellers wait for customers at a floating market on Mekong river in Can Tho city, Vietnam April 2, 2016. Picture taken on April 2, 2016. Photo by Reuters/Kham

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers has just sent an urgent dispatch to the Prime Minister asking to inspect the sewage treatment system at the Lee&Man Paper Manufacturing Company's Vietnam branch.

The association said the Lee&Man plant, which is located on the banks of the Hau River in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang, is about to go into operation, causing concerns among local people as well as seafood enterprises.

The association claimed that paper producers mainly discharge sodium hydroxide, a hazardous substance that can kill marine life. Meanwhile, there are no modern waste water treatment centers in the region.

On March 2015, the Lee&Man project was kicked off with plans to officially open in August this year. Upon completion, the plant could discharge 28,500 tons ofsodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, per year.

“With this massive amount, the plant could ‘kill’ the Hau River,” the association said.

It also added that if waste water discharged into the Hau River flows into the sea, the whole Mekong Delta region will be affected.

In 2007, the association called on authorities to comment on licensing the Lee&Man plant. In response, on September 6, 2007, the Vietnam Administration of Forestries said that under the master plan to develop Vietnam’s paper industry until 2010 with a vision to 2020, there was no provision for a paper producing zone in the Mekong region.

VnExpress tried to reach Lee&Man as well as the management board of Hau Giang’s industrial zones, but they were unavailable for comment.

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