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Pesticide maker closed for dumping toxic waste

Update: September, 06/2013 - 10:12
A pesticide manufacturer in the central province of Thanh Hoa's Cam Van Commune has been closed for allegedly dumping untreated harmful chemicals.— Photo vtc

THANH HOA (VNS)— A pesticide manufacturer in the central province of Thanh Hoa's Cam Van Commune has been closed for allegedly dumping untreated harmful chemicals.

Operations at Nicotex Thanh Thai Joint Stock Company will be temporarily suspended for 30 days pending further investigation following a decision by vice chairman of the provincial People's Committee, Nguyen Duc Quyen.

The case came to light in mid-August after local residents in Cam Van complained to local authorities that the company was dumping untreated chemicals, causing a bad smell and polluting the surrounding environment.

On Monday, local residents unearthed 21 drums containing chemicals and pesticides with a total capacity of around 220 litres.

Initial investigations by local police found that the company had violated environmental regulations.

Chairman of the Cam Van People's Committee Truong Cong Hoa told Viet Nam News yesterday that there were at least nine areas where the company had buried chemicals and pesticides.

"However, we have been unable to establish exactly how much waste has been buried because some of it might be toxic and unsafe," he said.

"The company has committed to work with relevant agencies to investigate the case and take measures to handle environmental pollution," he said.

Lam Vinh Anh from the Defence Ministry's Chemical Command told the Lao dong (Labour) newspaper that the company's dumping of untreated waste would harm the environment.

If the company treated the waste before it was dumped, it would have to be supervised by authorised agencies to ensure treatment standards were met, he said.

Anh added that businesses often avoided treating waste because it cost them between VND25-50 million (US$1,190-2,380) per tonne.

Vice Chairman of Thanh Hoa Province's People's Committee Quyen instructed relevant agencies to investigate the case and punish the company accordingly.

He told the company to take measures to deal with the consequences if it had damaged the environment.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City Bar Association Nguyen Van Hau told Lao Dong newspaper that if harmful waste had absorbed into the land and caused environmental pollution, the company had certainly violated environmental regulations.

Those involved should take full responsibility for the case, he said.

Local residents could start legal proceedings against the company if there was enough evidence, he added.

Under the current regulations, polluters can be fined between VND50-500 million ($2,380-23,800) and sentenced from six months to 10 years in prison, depending on the level of their infringement.

Viet Nam News yesterday tried unsuccessfully to contact the company for further comment. — VNS

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