January, 10 2011 10:00:55

Environmental violations soar 43%

HCM CITY — The number of violations of environmental law increased by 43 per cent in 2010 compared to 2009, according to the Ministry of Public Security.

The Environmental Crime Prevention and Fighting Police Department said there were more than 6,500 violations of the Environmental Law nationwide, and 88 of them resulted in lawsuits.

The number of violations involving discharged untreated wastewater and hazardous gas accounted for 22 per cent.

Police said that many factories were still using an underground pipe network to discharge untreated wastewater into river and canals.

Only 20 per cent of hospitals nationwide have standard waste treatment systems.

Many hospitals had not been treating their wastes according to regulations on medical waste treatment.

Rubbish treatment dumps, especially in city outskirts, are faced with an overload of rubbish and outdated technology.

Importing industrial waste from other countries has also complicated matters.

In Hai Phong alone, authorities have discovered hundreds of containers of imported garbage, including radioactive materials.

Collection and transport, as well as illegal treatment of hazardous waste, such as old lead batteries, waste sludge and waste from metal ore, have occurred in some localities.

Nineteen per cent of the violations were related to illegal exploitation of natural resources and mines, including bauxite exploitation in Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands).

The total fines were more than VND52 billion (US$2.6 million), police said.

According to department leaders, violators' methods have become more and more sophisticated, causing difficulties in enforcement.

Penalties for violations of the environmental law in some localities have been inconsistent and not strict.

The regulations on violations in the law are unclear and vague, leaving loopholes that violators exploit, they said. — VNS

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