More big polluters are named and shamed

July 31, 2012 | 09:06
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A large Chinese steel-making firm in northern Thai Binh province has smeared its prestige in Vietnam.

A provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Inspectorate Section source said local authorities had imposed a VND55 million ($2,644) fine on Shengli Vietnam Special Steel Company based in the province’s Cau Nghin Industrial Park. The source said the company, with total investment capital of $100 million, had been found to violate commitments on importing and housing steel scraps used for production. Most imported steel scraps had been exposed to the open air without being covered and hedged.

This was the second time Shengli Vietnam had been punished. In 2010, it was slammed by a VND250 million ($12,000) fine from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment due to its discharging smoke and dust into the environment, hurting local residents’ health.

Established on January 16, 2008, Shengli Vietnam is jointly invested by China’s Shengli (Fujian) Investment and Development Company and Guangdong Metals and Minerals Imports and Exports Groups Corporation. Shengli Vietnam’s total annual capacity is 600,000 tonnes.

In related news, Ba Ria-Vung Tau province authorities have also sealed off all machines and equipment in the dying workshop of Taiwanese-backed MeiSheng  Textiles Vietnam Company, in Ngai Giao town of the province’s Chau Duc district.

“MeiSheng has seriously polluted the environment. We have several times imposed fines on it, but its polluting action remains unchanged,” said a source from Ba Ria-Vung Tau Provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s Inspection Inspectorate.

Beginning operations in April, 2008, the firm in March, 2012 was found to discharge untreated waste into the environment, contaminating the nearby Da Den Lake, which provides 90 per cent of living water for local inhabitants.

Local media reported that in July, 2010 the firm’s illegally-made waste water conducting system cracked, with waste water soiling the environment. In September, 2010 MeiSheng received a VND335 million ($16,100) fine due to polluting the environment and was forced by local authorities to rebuild its waste water treatment system. In April, 2011, MeiSheng was also found to be pumping waste water on its land area to water trees.

Also in March, 2012, MeiSheng, with a total workforce of 1,300, was also discovered by local authorities to have over 1,250 workers working in a substandard environment with big noise and dust.

The Ministry of Public Security’s Environmental Crime Prevention and Fighting Police Department (C49) reported that during the first half of  this year, some 4,780 environmental violation cases were discovered, up 60 per cent on-year, with 94 cases and 163 people prosecuted, and 3,500 cases fined.

C49 discovered 7,868 environmental pollution cases in 2011, up 36 per cent against 2010. Violators were fined VND58 billion ($2.80 million).

By Nguyen Thanh

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