|The projects also violated the biodiversity law, which bans the construction of projects inside strictly protected areas of preservation. Sections of the two projects are located within a strictly protected area of Cat Tien National Park.— Photo nld
HA NOI (VNS)— Two proposed hydro-power plants on the Dong Nai River would have such a serious environmental impact that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment asked the Prime Minister to review the plans.
Dong Nai 6 and Dong Nai 6A would permanently destroy more than 327ha of forest, including over 128.3ha inside Cat Tien National Park, according to the ministry. They would also damage the Bau Sau Wetlands in southern Dong Nai province, 55km from the two projects.
In April, provincial authorities asked the National Assembly to reject the two projects. According to chairman of the provincial People's Council Tran Van Tu, they would destroy all upstream forests in the region. Moreover, he said, changing the direction the river flowed would seriously affect the life of the 20 million HCM City residents as well as those living in Dong Nai and other nearby provinces.
Although the project investor committed to protecting the forest by planting trees in allocated land areas, the investor's environmental impact report did not show any location for doing so, according to the ministry. The report also failed to fully assess biological losses in the wetland area or outline measures to protect the rare fish species that live in the river. Nor did it mention how the projects would help meet the increasing water demand of those living along the river.
The ministry also found the two projects violated the Law on Cultural Heritage and the Law on Biological Diversity.
Under the Law on Cultural Heritage, authorised agencies must assess any project that could potentially affect the natural landscape around historical sites. However, the report did not cite any appraisement documents from authorised cultural agencies.
The projects also violated the biodiversity law, which bans the construction of projects inside strictly protected areas of preservation. Sections of the two projects are located within a strictly protected area of Cat Tien National Park. This would not only be environmentally damaging, but would delay the process to consider the national park as a world natural heritage site.
The ministry also expressed worry about the projects' impact on local residents' agricultural production, aquaculture and fishing activities. — VNS