March, 21 2014 09:27:00

Starch plant makes way for housing

THAI NGUYEN (VNS)— A factory in northern Thai Nguyen Province producing cassava starch has been forced to close down after failing to stop discharging untreated waste water into the environment. The waste is reported to have a revolting smell.

However, despite its bad track record, the company, owned by Son Lam JSC, has now been given approval to develop a 10- hectare housing complex adjacent to the site.

Provincial authorities said the factory owners may face a fine of up to VND854 million (US$40,100) for pollution breaches. It is also likely to be forced to repair serious environmental damage that it has created.

A report from the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment showed that the factory, located in Dong Bam Commune, had never built a waste-water treatment system despite commitments made in 2006.

Each year, the factory is believed to have discharged between 20,000 and 30,000 cubic metres of untreated waste water into the surrounding environment.

This is reported to have caused serious pollution to Linh Nham and Mat Rong streams and created a horrible odour.

Since 2008, the department, in co-operation with the Ministry of Public Security's Environment Crime Prevention Police Department, has fined the factory's owners a total of VND250 million ($11,750) for its slack behavious.

The department said that it had told factory management many times to stop polluting the environment, but nothing was ever done.

Last January, it was discovered that underground pipes had been laid to discharge waste water into neighbouring streams.

Results of tests reveal that water samples contained quantities of nine chemicals that were 10 times above approved levels. The factory was fined VND75 million ($3,520) and ordered to dig up the pipes. — VNS

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