|The 6,000sq.m dumping ground was watered and covered with canvas on Thursday. — Photos VGP
HCM CITY (VNS) — Deputy Primer Minister Hoang Trung Hai has instructed the Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) Corporation to immediately take all necessary steps for ensuring environmental protection while building and operating the thermal power plants in the Vinh Tan Complex in the central province of Binh Thuan.
His instructions follow demonstrations by thousands of local people who stopped traffic on National Highway No 1A on Tuesday night to complain about coal dust and cinder blown in from the power complex, especially from the newly built Vinh Tan Thermal Plant No 2.
The protests went on for many hours, causing vehicles to back up for dozens of kilometres in the arterial north-south highway.
"In recent days, pollution by cinder and coal dust from the Vinh Tan Electricity Complex has been serious and severely impacted local people's daily life," Nguyen Thanh Sang, chairman of the Vinh Tan Commune People's Committee, was quoted as saying on the Government website.
Though the pollution had been occurring for a long time, the complex had not done anything to address it, he said.
"Therefore, local people had to demonstrate."
Hai said the plant's managers should not allow coal dust and cinder to affect the life of local residents.
He called on the ministries of Industry and Trade and Construction to use the cinder for production of cement and nonflammable construction materials.
The People's Committee had earlier urged the thermal complex to cover and water its cinder dumping ground, but nothing was done even after it slapped a fine of VND1.5 billion (US$70,000) for pollution.
After the demonstration, the thermal plant stopped moving cinder out to the dumping spot for 10 days.
The 6,000sq.m dumping ground was watered and covered with canvas on Thursday.
The deputy primer minister also instructed the Binh Thuan People's Committee to inform local people about these measures and maintain social order and security.
The EVN has promised to fully resolve the problem.
To start with, all trucks carrying cinder would be fully covered but the roads would be cleaned regularly before dedicated roads were built for the trucks, it said.
The number of trucks watering the dumping ground would be increased from four to 10, and all necessary technical measures would be fully implemented to limit pollution, it said.
In the longer term, it promised to install new technologies to reduce the spread of cinder and coal dust. — VNS