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Toxic waste continues to blight the environment

Update: December, 13/2012 - 10:11

HCM CITY (VNS)— HCM City discharges nearly 500 tonnes of hazardous waste each day, but only 10 per cent are treated properly, according to a survey conducted by the Environmental and Natural Resources Institute under the Viet Nam National University-HCM City.

The city contains 49 waste treatment plants licensed to handle toxic waste, yet only 19 companies are actually capable of treating it, said the institute's deputy director Le Thanh Hai.

"The remaining waste is treated improperly by businesses themselves or by private waste treatment plants," Hai said.

In some cases, hazardous waste was also discarded without treatment.

"Many businesses hire private waste treatment companies to treat their toxic waste, but these enterprises are not licensed to handle the waste because they lack the proper equipment," he added.

Often, according to Hai, businesses could not classify harmful waste because they lacked the necessary equipment.

"Such hazardous waste comes not only from industrial production plants and businesses, but also households," Hai said. "Many local people find it hard to distinguish between toxic and normal waste. Used batteries, for example, are classified as toxic waste, but you can still find them in household garbage dumps."

Deputy Director of HCM City Environmental Company Nguyen Minh Hoang told Thoi bao Kinh te Sai Gon Online (Sai Gon Economic Times) that the city's treatment plants were unable to treat the huge amount of waste discharged each day.

That waste mainly consists of fuel, batteries, chemicals, light bulbs and printing ink, as well as other waste from the pharmaceutical and metallurgy sector.

HCM City plans to implement 39 projects that will treat all wastewater discharge as well as solid and toxic waste from factories, hospitals and households by 2015, according to the city's Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

Infrastructure projects, which will put facilities in place to treat the solid waste, make up 13 of the planned projects. A toxic-waste treatment plant with a capacity of 21 tonnes a day has already gone into operation. — VNS

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