Ministry backtracks on dumping

vietnamnews

Update: August, 10/2017 – 01:00

Hòn Cau marine protected area in Tuy Phong District, central province of Bình Thuận.The environment ministry has agreed not to dump nearly one million cubic metre of waste mud discarded by Vĩnh Tân 4 thermal power plant into the sea area. — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The environment ministry has agreed not to dump nearly one million cubic metre of waste mud discarded by a power plant into Bình Thuận Province’s sea following public outcry against the plan.The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Ministry reported on Wednesday that it approved a proposal by Bình Thuận authorities in which the mud and waste sand of Vĩnh Tân 1 thermal power plant would be dumped at Vĩnh Tân Port instead of the sea.

Vĩnh Tân Port was previously picked as a landfill for the waste mud dredged by the Vĩnh Tân 4 thermal power plant.

The ministry’s original decision still had to await final approval of the Government.

The environment ministry’s u-turn came following pressure from the public and the scientific community as the news broke in June. The Natural Resources and Environment Deputy Minister Nguyễn Linh Ngọc on June 23 agreed to allow Vĩnh Tân 1 Electricity Company, which is in charge of the power plant of the same name, to dump 918,533 cubic metres of dredged mud and sand into the sea in Tuy Phong District.

The sea area in question, however, was located adjacent to Hòn Cau marine protected area in Tuy Phong. It is one of 16 marine protected areas in Việt Nam.

The proposal prompted public protests over fears the waste could threaten the coral ecosystem and sea life in the area.

The events took a stunning turn when three of the scientists listed as members of the dumping plan’s environmental impact assessment denied their involvement in the plan, claiming their names had been used without their consent.

Bình Thuận Province then asked the Government to suspend the dumping plan, while Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc ordered the Việt Nam Academy of Science and Technology to conduct another environmental impact assessment of the plan. — VNS

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