|Hoà Trung Industrial Park in Cà Mau Province’s Cái Nước District. VNS File Photo.|
MEKONG DELTA -- Despites efforts by authorities, pollution at industrial parks and clusters in the Mekong province of Cà Mau has risen to alarming levels, affecting the lives of local residents.
Đốc River Town, for instance, a town in Trần Văn Thời District with a population of 40,000, is a hub for fishing industry logistics and seafood processing.
However, the rapid development of the two industries has caused it severe environmental problems.
Located at the town’s entrance, Đốc River Industrial Park (IP), which has more than 10 seafood processing facilities, was once the province’s pride since it offered jobs to a large number of locals and contributed significantly to the province’s coffers.
But the same processing facilities have now become a big concern for Đốc River Town’s residents.
Trần Minh Thế of the town’s Hamlet 12 said emissions from the seafood processors cause respiratory illnesses in many children and seniors besides enveloping the town in a bad smell.
Trần Hiền Lương of Trùm Thuật A Hamlet, said the local have protested before being dissuaded by local authorities.
According to town residents, the IP, which opened nearly 10 years ago, has not built a central wastewater treatment system for itself.
Hoà Trung IP in Lương Thế Trưng Commune near Cà Mau city faces similar environmental problems. It has five seafood processing plants and four fish-sauce processing factories, which emit gases and discharge wastewater, affecting locals’ lives and their aquaculture industry.
The pollution and other concerns have been repeatedly brought up at meetings with local authorities, but so far nothing has been done.
Punishment for polluters
Ngô Chí Hùng, head of the Cà Mau Province Department of Environment Protection, said some factories have managed to stop the pollution but many others sneakily discharge wastewater and gases during non-working hours meaning authorities cannot catch them in the act.
Besides, most of the seafood and fish sauce processing facilities in the Đốc River Town and Hoà Trung IZs are located along rivers, making it difficult for authorities to discover their wastewater discharge, he said.
Meanwhile, many small and medium-sized seafood processing enterprises have yet to build wastewater treatment systems, worsening the pollution, he said.
Inspections of these facilities last year found environmental violations, and authorities punished them, he said.
The Cà Mau Province People’s Committee has instructed relevant agencies to draw up a list of seafood processing enterprises which have not built waste treatment facilities, and ensure they have wastewater and emissions treatment facilities in place by this year.
The enterprises have been instructed to instal cameras to monitor their wastewater treatment by this month.
The province has decided it will no longer allow the setting up of seafood processing facilities outside industrial zones.VNS