VWS building closed waste solution

08:00 | 31/01/2020
As the Lunar New Year approaches, David Duong, president of California Waste Solutions cum CEO of Vietnam Waste Solutions, had a chat with VIR’s Bao Giang about what he has done during the past year and his plans for the New Year.
p54 vws building closed waste solution
David Duong, president of California Waste Solutions cum CEO of Vietnam Waste Solutions

With the Lunar New Year just around the corner, what were you the most satisfied about in 2019?

California Waste Solutions (CWS) is busy renewing waste collection contracts signed with the two cities of San Jose and Oakland in California. The city councils have approved the extension of the contract period from 20 to 30 years.

The company is now waiting for approval for a second time. With what we have performed so far, we expect that the two cities will continue to trust us and extend our waste collection contract. We will also continue our efforts to expand treatment services for oversized garbage and waste overload.

Could you share CWS’s latest investments in 2019?

CWS has scaled up its businesses by 30 per cent, including building a new factory and raising capacity to receive garbage as well as made a 40-45 per cent increase financially. CWS is looking for opportunities to expand investment in waste disposal in the Southern California area.

p54 vws building closed waste solution
CWS is bringing technology tried and tested in the United States to dispel Vietnam’s waste issues

How are your projects in Vietnam coming along?

In 2019, the Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facilities handled over two million tonnes of waste in Ho Chi Minh City, accounting for over 70 per cent of garbage discharged by the city. In 2020, Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS) continues to make significant investment in its major projects including the Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facilities and the Green Technology Park in the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

VWS has conducted research and survey of the Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facilities to select the appropriate technologies. The company is also preparing to switch to new technology to generate electricity and produce compost with a daily capacity of 3,000 tonnes.

My partners and I spend a lot of time surveying and researching waste treatment technologies from Europe, the US, and Japan. We aim to choose the best technology for Vietnam’s waste composition such as American waste sorting technology, Dutch combustion technology, and German composting technology.

Thanks to these technologies, VWS can develop the self-contained process from waste receipt to handling systems to provide eco-friendly by-products. We have just submitted the project to Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. With the total investment capital of $450 million, this project has the capacity to handle 3,000 tonnes of waste. Once approved, VWS will carry out and put this project into operation after 24 months of construction.

On January 14, Nguyen Thanh Phong, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, and leaders of municipal departments, visited the Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facilities to carry out a survey and work on the conversion of waste treatment technology at the facility.

“After exploring the technology at the complex, I think that David Duong and his team of experts have shown their determination to invest in the project and contribute to solving the city’s environmental and waste treatment problems. Their remarkable efforts also prove the enthusiasm of overseas Vietnamese investors in returning to their homeland,” said Phong.

Regarding VWS’s proposal for technology conversion, Phong asked Ho Chi Minh City Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DoNRE) to form a council to evaluate new technology. He also invited Duong to present the project in front of the council for approval.

“I will also work with my deputy to discuss the other issues and solve difficulties for VWS to carry out the project soon. The relevant departments and agencies should find solutions to implement the project soon. Among them, the DoNRE should take action to speed up approval of the project,” Phong said.

How is the progress of the Green Technology Park in Long An?

The Green Technology Park is one of the largest waste treatment facilities in Vietnam.

According to the regional planning, the project will adopt modern technology to meet household and industrial waste treatment demand for Ho Chi Minh City, Long An, and localities in the southern key economic zone. The project is designed to treat 40,000 tonnes of waste per day. It has the total investment capital of $700 million, of which $450 million pours into the first phase of the project.

We inaugurated this Green Technology Park in 2017. As of present, we have completed site clearance, bridges, and traffic infrastructure as well as preparing financial resources for the project. However, we are facing some challenges as Long An’s authorities are proposing to reclaim the land plot that Ho Chi Minh City has invested over VND2 trillion ($87 million) in site clearance compensation.

We are very worried and hoped that leaders of Ho Chi Minh City and Long An will have an official answer for VWS in the new year so that we can implement the major project soon.

VWS has been granted several garbage trucks meeting US standards to Vietnam. Could you share more about these garbage trucks?

Investors always take business efficiency and profitability into account before making an investment. However, investors need to take responsibility for the community and the local people.

VWS specialises in waste treatment while other companies are responsible for waste collection. However, we always want to build a self-contained system from collection, transportation to treatment to minimise environmental pollution.

At the same time, we have extensive experience in waste collection and transportation in the US. Thus, we want to sponsor garbage trucks to improve waste collection and disposal problems in the city. These garbage trucks are very safe for collectors and residents on the road, thereby contributing to a more civilised and modern city.

We have invited foreign experts to conduct a feasibility study in Vietnam and developed the specialised trucks specifically for the Vietnamese market like waste composition and traffic conditions. The trucks are designed with an automatic wheel wash system for pleasant scents when the driver puts on the brake.

They also have suitable loading capacity, use clean energy compressed natural gas as well as feature 360-degree cameras to help drivers monitor in the crowded traffic flow.

In 2018, VWS imported eight garbage trucks worth $500,000 each to grant to Ho Chi Minh City, Phu Quoc, and Long An.

I want to prove to the world that Vietnam is also active and responsible in reducing environmental pollution. The country can produce materials that minimise environmental pollution and make optimal use of waste resources for economic development.

Currently, we are planning to sponsor large underground waste bins to accommodate large-size waste that the regular waste bins cannot hold.

These waste bins are being used in developed countries to improve the uniformity of collecting, transporting, and disposing of garbage, thus contributing to the beauty and civilisation of the city. We are waiting for the approval of the local authorities to implement this project.

How do you feel about the challenges you are facing in Vietnam at the moment?

The municipal authorities aim to accelerate the development of the city to transform itself into a smart city. However, the city meets some lingering issues to achieve the targets, particularly the slow progress in environmental protection.

VWS has also faced several challenges during two decades of operation in Vietnam. Sometimes I was very discouraged but I told myself, “Just take action with the utmost determination and do what is best for the homeland”.

When I face any challenge or delay, I still have a positive attitude and feel proud of what I have done so far. The main reason is that I strive to do my best as an American Vietnamese for my homeland.

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