Industrial zones that discharge wastewater should receive heavy fines, manager of the Integrated Wastewater Concept for Industrial Zones Bui Duy Cam told Kinh te&Do thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper.
The discharge of untreated wastewater from industrial zones has been a burning issue for many years. As the Manager of the Project Integrated Wastewater Concept for Industrial Zones, how do you respond?
Under the 2013 Law on Environmental Protection, there are five levels of administrative sanctions.
After the first warning about the discharge of contaminated wastewater, the government can reprimand IZs or fine them up to VND150,000,000 ($7,500).
After two through four warnings, the government can fine IZs up to VND200,000,000 ($9,500).
After five to nine warnings, the government can fine IZs up to VND250,000,000 ($11,900)
From the 10th warning on, the government can fine IZs up to VND300,000,000 ($14,300).
If the wastewater contains radioactive elements surpassing the permissible amount, the government can fine IZs up to VND500,000,000 ($23,000).
To create a green and sustainable economy, environmental protection is very important. The 2014 Law on Environmental Protection contains several articles on administrative sanctions for discharging untreated wastewater from industrial zones. However, in reality, the problem has not yet been strictly monitored.
One of the main reasons is low awareness on the part of industrial zone (IZ) management boards. Another factor is failure by local governments to enforce the law.
On the path of developing a green economy, it is imperative to focus on environmental protection. This is an effective way to save money from settling the aftermath of environmental degradation in the future.
Who should take responsibility for the discharge of untreated wastewater by IZs?
The Law on Environmental Protection states very clearly that environmental impact assessments must be written during the process of IZ construction. Wastewater treatment must follow standard procedure.
In addition, the law says that provincial People's Committees and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment must give instructions regarding wastewater discharged into rice fields, rivers and streams. Regrettably, authorities often lack the technical ability or infrastructure to assess the environmental impact or contamination level.
Quite a few IZs have changed their original production plans, which were approved by authorities. As a result, their wastewater discharge schemes fail to meet requirements. As many as 80 per cent of IZs have built their own concentrated wastewater treatment schemes while the remaining 20 per cent have either built such schemes or are now investing in their construction.
What can we do to stop the discharge of untreated wastewater at IZs?
To prevent the discharge of untreated wastewater, management agencies and scientists should help enterprises to apply advanced science and technology in wastewater treatment. Meanwhile, the enterprises themselves must allocate part of their revenue to improve the factories' infrastructure and equipment, particularly wastewater treatment plants.
IZs that violate the law must face administrative sanctions and a timetable to rectify their shortcomings. In addition, we should also impose administrative fines on their leaders. This is a very effective way to help them raise their awareness about environmental protection and develop a green economy. — VNS