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|David Duong, president of California Waste Solutions (CWS) cum CEO of Vietnam Waste Solutions (VWS)|
How does the pandemic affect your business in the US and Vietnam?
It was great news when we heard that Vietnam has successfully flattened the pandemic curve. Meanwhile, the pandemic is worsening around the globe, including in the US.
Since the outbreak, CWS as one of leading waste treatment firms in the US and its Vietnamese counterpart VWS have quickly taken all appropriate measures in compliance with the local authorities’ prevention guidelines. Both companies also rolled out new health measures for all workers to prevent the spread of the virus. Fortunately, we can remain stable operation during the crisis with insignificant impact.
While the US, for a long time, didn’t impose the wearing of masks, CWS had recommended its staffs to wear face masks. The company also offers hand sanitiser, face masks, and temperature testing for all staff for free.
We also strictly implement social distancing, and our workers don’t talk and eat together to limit close contacts. Our garbage truck drivers are granted with face masks and hand sanitiser and maintain a safe distance between them and our customers to ensure health and safety. At the same time, employees with suspicious symptoms are requested to visit health centres for check-ups and stay at home for monitoring.
In general, VWS still processed the same amount of garbage during the pandemic. Meanwhile, the amount of household garbage sent to CWS grew by 20 per cent during the crisis. However, the increasing volume does not affect our operation given that we have a number of backup garbage trucks.
In addition, the company doesn’t have any shortage of labour as we maintain decent salary and welfare schemes. However, during the social distancing period, we couldn’t hire new people to process the growing amount of mixed waste for recycling.
|David Duong (left) presents a sum of cash to the Fund for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of the Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco|
Could you give us some insight into the upgrades for Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facility and the progress of the Green Technology Park in the Mekong Delta province of Long An?
At present, VWS still receives and processes municipal waste under the decision of Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. According to many experts, the land site for Da Phuoc Integrated Waste Management Facility does not offer any economic benefits. So far, the originally planned green tree belt meant to surround the complex has yet to build. However, we made efforts to protect the neighbouring environment by using deodorising sprays and hygienic landfills in line with international standards.
Furthermore, we are waiting for further guidance from the city to upgrade our technology at the Da Phuoc facility. Since the end of 2019, the city has set more requirements for the technology at the second phase of the complex. After completing a feasibility research, the company is willing to apply modern technology to reduce the amount of waste to be buried.
The new technology will also help reduce carbon emissions, convert waste into electricity as well as produce eco-friendly by-products such as fertilisers. After our research and some experiments, VWS has found suitable technology to meet the conditions of the city. The company also invited foreign experts to study the garbage composition of the city, with the result that it mainly consists of mixed garbage. VWS is now waiting for the approval of the city to implement the respective technology upgrade.
However, we are really concerned for the Green Technology Park in Long An. We have completed some infrastructure works but the authorities have yet to greenlight this project, so we are waiting.
CWS and VWS are also participating in many corporate social responsibility activities. Could you share about these?
For the past few years, CWS and VWS dedicated significant efforts to deliver positive impacts to the society. Due to the rapid spread of the pandemic in the US, there is a severe shortage of medical supplies, especially face masks.
Our company has granted 40,000 N95 masks for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. In Vietnam, VWS has organised around 20,000 cloth face masks for our staff and locals in the area. In April, on behalf of CWS, I was honoured to donate $100,000 to the Fund for COVID-19 Prevention and Control of the Vietnamese Consulate General in the US city of San Francisco.
Meanwhile, VWS has donated VND200 million ($8,600) to the COVID-19 prevention and control fund managed by the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee to support those in need.
VWS sows seeds of sustainability in Da Phuoc commune
VWS, in collaboration with Da Phuoc Communal People’s Committee, has recently launched a campaign to plant 600 plantlets in Da Phuoc commune in Ho Chi Minh City.
Accordingly, the local authorities and communities will help VWS employees to plant 600 plants on the three main streets Lien Ap, Road 4C, and Road 4B.
The campaign aims to celebrate the World Environment Day and the month of environmental action in Da Phuoc commune. Moreover, the campaign also celebrates Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee’s Directive No.19-CT-TU on the implementation of a campaign to keep the city clean and safe.
VWS spent VND50 million ($2,100) sponsoring the campaign as part of its efforts to make a contribution to the society, in line with the company’s mission to build a cleaner city so that people are safer from the growing risks of environmental pollution.