Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NGÃI — The Department of Natural Resources and Environment in Quảng Ngãi Province has said the 15 million cubic metres of dredged sand and soil recently dumped into the sea area was a legal activity and had not caused pollution.
Director of the department Đỗ Minh Hải said the province had allowed Hoà Phát Dung Quất Steel JSC to dump roughly 15 million cu.m of sand and soil after dredging work on Hoà Phát Sea Port.
The material had only been moved from one area to another, he said.
Hải was responding to public outcry about the decision to allow the company to dump the material at sea, which was dredged from 11 ports at the Hoà Phát Integrated Steel Complex.
The company dumped the material off the coast of Dung Quất, about 28km to the east of Lý Sơn Island.
Hải said the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had invited leading environmental experts to work with consultancy units and investors to survey the area.
A meeting was held to announce the results of the survey, which found the area had no coral or seaweed.
The area was also regularly used to dump sand and soil from nearby ports, which was licensed by authorised agencies.
Hải said the decision would hit local fishermen, but only for a short time because they operated four to five nautical miles from the coast.
The department would coordinate with the management board of Dung Quất Economic Zone and local authorities to notify fishermen to avoid any damage.
Hải also said the company had committed to using modern dredgers to minimise the risk of sand and soil dispersion and pollution.
Dung Quất Port can only receive vessels with a capacity of 100,000 DWT. Hoà Phát Dung Quất Steel JSC has decided to increase the capacity to 200,000 DWT. The project was approved by the Ministry of Transport.
After being dredged, the port will be one of the largest in the country.
On October 26, the ministry held a meeting with provincial authorities to find a solution for the sand and soil.
On November 7, the provincial National Assembly delegation asked the ministry and other relevant units to license the dumping of dredged sand and soil.
The construction of Hoà Phát Integrated Steel Complex was approved by the Government last January covering 366 hectares.
The project is expected to create more than 8,000 jobs and increase local budget revenue to VNĐ4-5 trillion ($172-215 million) per year. — VNS