Local people in Quang Nam Province have gathered again and demanded to relocate the Vietnam-France Steel Plant due to pollution.
Locals camp out the at the factory
The locals in Dien Nam Dong Ward, Dien Ban Town have put up tents and blocked the entrance to the plant for the past three months. Old people stay out during the day and young people sleep in the tents at night. They are determined to shut down the plant in the area.
According to the locals, since the factory went into operation five years ago, it has caused air and noise pollution. The local authorities promised to work out a solution but nothing has been done and the plant is still in operation.
On July 25, Huynh Khanh Toan, vice chairman of Quang Nam Province People’s Committee, said they needed time and procedures done before the plant could be shut down. That’s why he agreed to let the plant operate until December 31, 2019.
The locals said they lost faith in the authorities. “We can’t bear it anymore. We’re old but we worry about our children’s future. They will die a slow death from the pollution. If we don’t react now, our children and grandchildren will have to pay the price,” said 90-year-old Pham Thi Lai.
Tran Uc, head of Dien Ban Commune said the factory demanded a VND130bn (USD5.7m) subsidy.
“We’re persuading the locals to return home while the problem is being dealt with,” he said.
Vietnam-France Steel Plant was opened in 2012 with the capacity to produce 48,000 tonnes of steel per year. Due to the protest, Quang Nam provincial authorities planned to relocate the plant to Dai Loc District in 2015 but the district authorities opposed the decision.
In 2016, the plan to relocate the plant to Nam Giang District, upstream of the Vu Gia-Thu Bon River Basin faced opposition from the public and was scrapped.