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Gov’t inspects skyrocketing scrap imports

Update: August, 09/2018 - 16:40
Scrap materials pile up at a seaport in Việt Nam. — VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc has asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to conduct a comprehensive inspection on the import of scrap materials, as the volume of second-hand products imported into Việt Nam has rocketed in recent times, raising concerns about how the scrap industry affects the environment. 

Any illegal imports or violations of environmental law must be criminally investigated. Those who were found to be involved would have their business licences revoked and be strictly handled, he said.

Speaking at the meeting with the Permanent Secretary of the Government on environmental management in importing and using scrap as raw materials for production, Phúc said the import of scrap materials into Việt Nam has been complicated.

He acknowledged there is demand for paper and plastic scrap as materials for production but said it only brought benefits for the processors, not the environment. A large volume of scrap containers have been left unattended at ports.

Data of the HCM City Customs Department and the Saigon Newport Corporation show that as of June 26, up to 4,480 containers of scrap had been stuck at the ports under the corporation’s management. About 20 per cent of the imported scrap is paper and the rest is plastics and other types of scrap.

PM Phúc has requested the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and relevant ministries and localities review the current situation and intensify control over the import of discarded materials. Measures must be taken to prevent Việt Nam from becoming a waste dumping site, thus affecting the living environment of the country. 

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment would take responsibility for this task.

The ministry was required to revise all permits for the import of quota-free materials. In the upcoming time, the ministry must stop the granting of licences on the import of scrap materials for entrusted import activities. 

It would consider the granting of permits for enterprises that managed to prove demand and capability to use scraps as raw materials for production. 

The ministry was also asked to promptly promulgate regulations on national technical standards on the environment for all imported scrap.

In addition, Phúc has assigned the Ministry of Public Security to direct local police, seaports and customs to provide a list to investigate and clarify the reasons for the abandoned scrap containers. 

He said serious violations on environmental law require legal proceedings.

Other ministries must join hands to control the imports of scrap containers into the country, he said. The Ministry of National Defence was asked to mobilise its functional forces to prevent the import of illegal scrap into Việt Nam. The Ministry of Transport will coordinate with the ministries of Finance, Public Security and National Defence to organise the destruction and removal of unused scrap containers in order to free up space for seaports. 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade was in charge of revising current regulations and proposing measures to limit the temporary import of scrap for re-export. The ministries, branches and localities needed to step up education on wrongdoing in production and business, which could adversely affect the environment and the people’s lives.

Figures from the Ministry of National Resources and Environment show that total scrap import volume in 2017, including iron, steel, plastics and paper, doubled from the previous year. The volume of plastic scrap imports between January and May this year almost doubled the figure for the whole of 2017. Imported scrap comes from many countries, including the US and the EU as well as countries in Asia.— VNS

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