Residents and authorities in the central province of Quang Ngai are still at loggerheads over whether a waste treatment plant should re-open, more than a year after its debut.
|Waste is dumped off the coast of Quang Ngai Province. The central province has been seeking a solution for waste treatment at Pho Thanh Commune of Duc Pho District. — VNS Photos Cong Thanh|
No agreement was signed between the province and the community of Pho Thanh Commune, Duc Pho District at a dialogue yesterday.
Many residents protested the operation of the plant as they said it would pollute the environment, and asked the plant to be removed from the commune.
The provincial leadership wants to re-open the plant from 2019 to 2022 to deal with the 22,500 tonnes of rubbish already buried at the dump before relocating the plant to an unspecified site.
The plant, built on the dump at La Van Village from 2016, started processing solid waste with capacity of 50 tonnes each day from March last year.
However, residents living near the plant raised concerns as the plant lacks the necessary treatment technology and waste containers.
The final straw came when then the plant dug up the dump for treatment from March of 2018, polluting the air. Residents then blocked all dump trucks from carrying waste to the plant and began protesting.
Mai Thi Sanh, a woman living in the commune, said the plant must be removed immediately.
“We don’t accept the existence of the plant in the community. It would harm our health if it keeps processing waste here. We need a healthy environment, not a polluted waste treatment plant,” she said at the dialogue.
Ly Thanh Cung, a resident living close to the plant, said: "I asked the local administration to promote supervision and inspection of the plant to make sure that it operates healthily and no pollution occurs from the treatment process.
“I agreed with solution that allows the plant to re-open and process 22,500 tonnes of buried waste at the dump with 13 tonnes each day from now to 2022. The temporary operation of the plant will help clean the prolonged polluted waste at dump that was buried 10 years ago.”
Tran Hoanh, a resident in Thach Bi Village, said strict supervision and control are needed to manage the the plant.
|Local residents of Pho Thanh Commune protest the waste treatment plant in the community after a dialogue between the province and local people failed.|
“It needs automatic air monitoring and camera systems and representatives of the community have to be included in the supervision board of waste processing at the plant.”
Nguyen Thi Yen, a local person, asked the province to hurry up and find a solution to the crisis.
She said people would die due to air and underground water pollution in the area around the plant.
Do Minh Hai, director of the provincial department of nature resources and environment, said the plant’s technology was approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to Vietnamese standards.
However, the plant’s managing board has not completed some equipment before beginning operation, including air and smoke monitoring systems, leakage and ash collection, and an air and smoke filter system.
Chairman of the provincial Fatherland Front Tran Quang Phuc blamed the issue on the poor management of the local administration and irresponsibility among grass-roots officials.
Phuc said several officials from the provincial department of nature resources and environment and the district of Đức Pho had been sacked or warned.
At the three-hour dialogue, provincial Party secretary, Lê Viết Chu admitted mistakes and irresponsibility among officials and Stage agencies in dealing with the waste crisis in the district.
“I sincerely apologise to all people for the late solution of the waste treatment plant. The dialogue today aims to hear opinions and proposals from the community in dealing the problem. We need joint actions from the community in building prolonged measures to process daily waste with up-to-date technology, while protecting the environment for the community,” he said.
“We have committed that the plant will soon install the equipment and items it lacks before operation from now on. We also invite local residents to join a community supervision team to monitor the plant for the three-year period before removing it to a new area,” he said.
Chu said the province plans to build a new waste treatment complex in Pho Nhon Commune in the district to collect and process waste.
He said a reservoir and clean water plant will be also built in the district in the coming years.
While the situation has been unresolved, Pho Thanh Commune is being flooded with 10 tonnes of rubbish each day. Rubbish has been dumped on the beach, railway and roadside.
Negotiations on a solution for the waste processing plant will continue between the province, State agencies and local community in Pho Thanh Commune.
The solid waste treatment plant, which was invested by MD Trading and Environmental Technology Co company with investment of VND60 billion (US$2.7 million), covers more than 20,000sq.m and has capacity to treat 50 tonnes of rubbish per day and night.