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VietNamNews

British polluter ignores closure

Update: December, 28/2012 - 10:51

BINH DUONG (VNS)— British wooden furniture maker Rochdale Spears in Binh Duong Province has ignored a second order by authorities to suspend operations on Wednesday until it improves its waste treatment system.

The company, whose second unit is situated in the Dong An Industrial Park, had first been ordered to shut by November 16 and also fined VND250 million (US$12,000) for causing pollution.

Following its failure to comply, the Department of Natural Resources and Environment gave it a fresh deadline of Wednesday.

Bui Manh Lan, director of the Dong An IP Authority, told Viet Nam News yesterday that Rochdale Spears has defied orders again and continues to operate.

The company's workers continued spraying chemicals on furniture items in an open workshop.

The area near the factory smelled of sawdust and chemicals.

Since the unit began operation in September, it has been polluting the environment with wood dust, sawdust, and chemicals since it did not install a proper system to collect them.

Basing on complaints by the IP Authority and nearby factories operated by Rinnai Viet Nam Ltd. and Thien Nam Investment and Development Co., inspectors from the department and environmental police made several visits to the plant in November.

They concluded that Rochdale Spears had no measures in place to prevent the release of wood dust, sawdust, or chemicals into the environment.

On November 15 the province People's Committee ordered the company to stop operations until it had environmental protection measures approved and checked by local authorities and to pay the fine.

The company paid the fine but ignored the order.

Pham Minh Nhut, deputy general manager of Rinnai, said many workers at his company were demanding compensation, saying their health had been affected by the dust and odour released by Rochdale Spears for months.

A worker at Rochdale Spears, who did not want to be named, said the environmental condition was much worse at his own company.

Lan of the IP Authority also suspects that Rochdale Spears releases chemical effluents into storm water drains since the main outlet for wastewater was blocked with concrete by authorities several weeks ago.

This does not seem to have affected the company which has continued to operate normally. — VNS

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