Vietnam Scraps Controversial Plan to Dump Sediment in Sea Off Binh Thuan

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File photo of Mui Ne fishing village on Vietnam's south central coast.
File photo of Mui Ne fishing village on Vietnam's south central coast.

UPDATED at 1:30 P.M. on 2017-08-14

Vietnam's environment ministry decided on Wednesday to scrap plans to dump about 1 million cubic meters of sediment into waters off Binh Thuan province, an idea that was met with strong opposition by local residents, fishermen and aquaculture farmers.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment struck an agreement with the Binh Thuan People's Committee to use the mud, soil and sand dredged from the harbor of Vinh Tan Power Company as fill to prevent coastal erosion in another local harbor, instead of dumping it into the sea, according to the website of the Binh Thuan provincial government.

The decision follows acts of protests and an online petition that drew thousands of signatures by citizens, environmentalists and fishermen, who argued the waste would destroy coral reefs and fishing grounds.

On July 15, a group of Ho Chi Minh City citizens tried to stage a walk to Binh Thuan to oppose the sediment project, but were halted on the outskirts of the city by police.

Also last month, 13 civic groups under the control of the Vietnamese government -- including the Vietnam Rivers Network, the Sustainable Energy Alliance and the Sea Life Conservation Center -- signed a petition against dumping the dredging waste into Binh Thuan waters.

The groups argued that the plan to dump the sediment was made without the consent of the public and scientists and without a transparent environmental impact assessment. The petition also cited what the groups said was a record of pollution incidents caused by the four thermal power plants of Vinh Tan.

Their recommendations were sent to 11 senior Vietnamese officials, including Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha.

Wednesday's decision came amid continued friction in central Vietnam over a toxic waste spill that occurred in April 2016, polluting more than 125 miles of coastline along four coastal provinces. The disaster killed an estimated 115 tons of fish and left fishermen and tourism industry workers jobless.

Taiwan-owned Formosa Plastics Group later acknowledged it was responsible for the release of the chemicals from its massive steel plant located at the deep-water port in Ha Tinh province’s Ky Anh district.

The company voluntarily paid U.S. $500 million to clean up and compensate those affected by the spill, but the slow and uneven payout of the funds by the Vietnamese government has prompted protests which continue to be held more than a year after the disaster.

Reported by RFA's Vietnamese Service. Translated by Emily Peyman. Written in English by Paul Eckert.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described the sediment as sludge.

Comments (1)

Hate Communists

from ghet bac Ho

Before we delve into this madness, the article doesn’t state the origin and/or the sludge matters. What are they?
I’m not sure how they got 1 million metric tons of sludge, but it boils down to 1/poor management 2/recklessness 3/poor integration design!
There is no designed ‘system’ on earth that runs and doesn’t produces ‘waste/by-products’. Just to nail it home for the uneducated; tunnel dwellers, and clueless communists; our human system is one of those very good ‘systems’, but at the end of the day we still have to relief ourselves – in form of urine or fecal matter! Of which, us VNmese fondly and passionately referred it as ‘Bac Ho calling (nature calls)’ and ‘bombing Ha Noi!
I know who ever ‘designed’ and ‘in charged’ of this operation knew; at the end of day; that the ‘sludge’ will build up and because of whatever reasons (most likely budget; complacency, and hesitation) they failed to deal with it. Moreover, these by products don’t just grow overnight! One million metric tons is equivalent of 402 Olympic size swimming pools! How does/can one ignore this gigantic mess?
Hence, the craziness, reckless, and mismanagement! They need to be put on trail.
But, the insults don’t stop there. Now, they want to ‘dam’ this up into a ‘reservoir’ to hold it. This is another big/huge (as President Trump would put it) accident just waiting to be happened. As it sits, it will seep into the underground drinking systems, and it’ll break its banks on the next rain or flood! I can see it now, they will proclaim that they didn’t do it – Mother Nature did it! VN and her people are again affected , infected, and suffered by this mishap. Meanwhile, the Party quietly moves on.
Clearly, these incompetent communist buffoons haven’t learned anything from the past mistakes. Please; step down, the VNmese people don’t want your kinds anymore. It’s immoral to wreck our civilization. You communists are the laughing stock!

Aug 10, 2017 02:53 PM





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