|Que Vo Industrial Park in northern Bac Ninh province - illustration photo|
In one of Vietnam’s worst environmental scandals to date, the Ministry of Public Security’s Environmental Crime Prevention and Fighting Police Department (C49) recently caught LongTech Precision Vietnam Company Limited releasing toxic wastewater into the drainage system of Que Vo Industrial Park in northern Bac Ninh province.
The firm, specialised in producing and plating metal products, was discharging over 100 cubic metres of untreated wastewater per day. C49 said this wastewater contained highly toxic chemicals and substances that could kill humans in a very short time if contracted.
The deputy minister of Public Security Pham Quy Ngo said this was just one case of many which were pushing Vietnam towards environmental disaster. Vietnam was at risk of becoming a dumping-ground for low-quality foreign goods and technologies.
“The country will continue to face heavy environmental consequences if stronger measures aren’t taken,” Ngo said.
C49 senior lieutenant colonel Vo Anh Tuan said: “The case is very serious. We are conducting further serious and careful investigations.”
C49 carried out undercover operations lasting a month before bringing the case to light. During this period, the firm’s waste treatment system was non-operational, while wastewater discharges were dark green and had a noxious chemical smell.
C49 said LongTech was also found to be combining toxic waste and normal waste, another violation by the firm.
“In following international environment treaties and the severe demands of clients, LongTech has set up an internal management system to strictly monitor and control the content, volume and concentration of chemicals and hazardous substances from input to output,” the firm said in its website.
It also said LongTech had obtained the ISO 14001 environment management certificate in May, 2007.
“We have established an environmental management committee at our factory and set targets for energy saving, paper consumption and trash reduction with the involvement of every division. We use environment harmless technology. We supply green products to our clients,” the website said.
After the case was brought against it, however, LongTech’s general director Danny Liao admitted the firm’s violations.
LongTech was granted an investment certificate by Bac Ninh Provincial People’s Committee in late January, 2006.
Since 2008, many other foreign polluters have also been caught damaging the environment and have been heavily fined as a result in Vietnam.
Among the many companies fined have been southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province-based British-backed Meisheng Text which was fined $17,630 and Ho Chi Minh City-based Vietstar which paid $12,100 in fines.
Taiwanese-backed Tung Kuang was hit with fine of $15,600 and Magnicon Company Ltd was forced to pay $3,700.
Thanh Dat (vir.com.vn)