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Japan’s JEBO apologizes for misunderstanding Hanoi leader’s statement

The Japan Environment and Business Organization (JEBO) has yet to seek permission from the government of Hanoi to clean up a section of the To Lich River and has tendered an apology to the municipal chairman over the misunderstanding.



A Japanese expert from the Japan Environment and Business Organization installs equipment to clean up the heavily polluted To Lich River in Hanoi in May 2019 – PHOTO: TNO



JEBO said in a statement today, December 12, that on reviewing an official letter from the Hanoi government in May 2019 and the entire pilot river clean-up process, the organization admitted that the letter does not grant JEBO the required permission.

Instead, the letter merely “okays the Japanese group of experts (referring to JEBO) in collaboration with the Japan-Vietnam Environmental Improvement Company (JVE)” to pilot the cleanup.

The letter was delivered following the April 26 meeting between the municipal government, JEBO and JVE regarding their proposal to fund the clean-up of a section of To Lich River and a corner of Ho Tay (West Lake), the largest lake in the capital city. The letter offered feedback from the city’s vice chairman, Nguyen The Hung, who had attended the meeting.

In legal terms, according to JEBO, the city government only gave JVE the go-ahead to cooperate with the Japanese group of experts. In other words, Hanoi has not permitted JEBO to begin the project as the association has yet to send a written request to the local government, though JVE has already done so.

The city chairman, Nguyen Duc Chung, “offered accurate information that we had not asked for permission as we were only a delegation of Japanese experts,” stated the association, adding that the group has collaborated with JVE on technical aspects to carry out the project.

The association stated its previous press release, which rejected the chairman’s statement, was inappropriate.

“Our press release, which misunderstood the chairman, has raised public concern in Vietnam, so we would like to send our most sincere apology to the chairman and hope that he will understand,” said JEBO.

The To Lich River runs 14 kilometers through the downtown districts of Thanh Xuan, Hoang Mai and Thanh Tri and is infamous for its stench and brackish water.

JEBO, in co-ordination with JVE, kicked off a pilot project in May to clean a short section of the To Lich River and part of West Lake using Japanese nano-bioreactor technology.

The technology produces oxygen in the water by activating both aerobic and anaerobic microorganisms in the water. The equipment in use includes an aerator to quickly treat water using natural materials; it is installed on the bed of the river.

The project ran for three months before being wrapped up when a project member immersed himself in the filtered water from the river to prove the success of the treatment in August.

However, Le Van Duc, director of the Hanoi Department of Construction, which oversees the capital’s sewage system, recently said that JVE had been invited to execute the project, but “it failed.”

The comment sparked a protest from JEBO, which had stated early this month that the construction director’s remarks were baseless and contrary to the city government’s conclusion.

JEBO later claimed to have found a solution to the pollution in the river and pledged to provide all necessary funding for the clean-up process. If its water treatment system proves successful, the association will lease it to the city government and later transfer it to the city for management and operation. SGT

JEBO rejects Hanoi Chairman's statement on To Lich River clean-up

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The Japan Environment and Business Organization (JEBO) has published an announcement by the Hanoi government on its permission.  

Can To Lich River be cleaned with Japanese technology?

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Hanoi authorities say the application of Nano-Bioreactor technology to treat To Lich River pollution hasn't brought satisfactory results, but the Japanese side has rejected the conclusion.


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