Concern about environmental pollution in Vietnam National Chemical Group's (Vinachem) DAP Dinh Vu Plant in the northern port city of Haiphong's Dinh Vu Economic Zone were deepened when the local authorities’ investigation uncovered environmental violations during its operations.
On August 8, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha ordered the investigation after receiving complaints from locals that the fertiliser plant discharges solid waste containing gypsum. This chemical contains toxic phosphor, which in large volumes can cause serious environmental pollution and harm people’ health.
Ha assigned the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) to check the plant’s operation and report to him before August 12.
On August 10, Dinh Vu DAP’s general director Nguyen Van Sinh submitted a report to the VEA on its environmental protection measures as well as its waste treatment system.
Accordingly, toxicity volumes in the waste sample were under the permitted level. Notably, the total phosphate (P2O5) volume in the gypsum residue is under 1 per cent, well below the permitted level of maximum 1.4 per cent, the pH content is higher than 2.2, and, especially, no P2O5 overflows into the environment were detected.
In addition, Dinh Vu DAP confirmed that it absolutely complies with the contents of the environmental impact assessment report approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).
However, the Haiphong Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s unannounced inspection on July 20 showed very different results than the company’s report. Notably, the sulphur volume exceeds 1.05 time more than the permitted level. Besides, the pH content in the gypsum residue stands between 2.09 and 2.01 instead of the 2.2 level reported by the company.
In the larger context, this is the fifth time the company causes an environmental break-down since it started operation in April 2009.
Notably, on July 26, 2009, Dinh Vu DAP leaked seven tonnes of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) from its depot. However, employees prevented the spillage from spreading out the environment and managed to contain it within the plant’s grounds.
On February 25, 2011, another leak incident, this time ammonia (NH3), actually reached the environment.
On June 23, 2013, the company’s reservoir overflew, killing fishes in residents’ ponds. The company had to pay a compensation of VND115 million ($5,198) to the residents.
On September 4, 2015, the company negligently dumped seven cubic metres of gypsum residue into the environment.
In addition, VEA’s conclusion released on May 10, 2016, showed that the company has once again violated environmental regulations. Notably, according to the environmental impact assessment, the gypsum landfill area is supposed to be 10 hectares and the licensed storage time is three years only. However, in reality, the landfill has an area of 13 hectares and the storage time reaches up to five years.
Furthermore, during inspection, the local authorities detected that the infrastructure for environmental protection does not meet the regulated standards and hides risks of environmental pollution.
The Haiphong Department of Natural Resources and Environment submitted documents to the MoNRE and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to call attention to the Dinh Vu DAP case of environmental pollution.
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