Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai stated at a national conference on April 2 that local administrations have remained sluggish in handling enterprises that are causing environmental pollution.
A section of the Thi Vai River polluted by untreated wastewater discharged by Vedan Vietnam.
He said that since the issuance of Decision 64 by the Prime Minister in 2003, provinces and cities have had eight years to deal with polluters, but up until now, as many as 101 out of 423 polluters are still not dealt with. Four localities have not even completed the task of monitoring over 50 percent of the serious polluters in their area.
Addressing the conference to review the task of handling serious polluters according to Decision 64, Bui Cach Tuyen, deputy minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said in the first period 2003-2011, the country had a total of 439 serious polluters that needed to be handled, but then the number has increased to 528. However, the task of relocating these enterprises has not yet finished.
Some six of the 37 polluters in Ho Chi Minh City have not cleaned up their operations, while eight of the 112 polluters in Binh Duong Province have not yet upgraded their pollution treatment plants to meet the required standards.
Most provinces and cities said they have faced difficulty in dealing with polluting enterprises due to lack of funds or the space to relocate these enterprises. Some enterprises lack space in their facilities to install waste treatment systems.
Mr. Tuyen said besides the above-mentioned reasons, many enterprises have avoided any responsibility for protecting the environment in order to reduce costs. They have installed treatment systems of low quality to impress relevant agency inspections.
By the end of the first period, over 101 polluters have yet to be tackled, while during the second period, the country will have to deal with 3,600 polluting enterprises.
Deputy PM Hai said there are so many polluters that need to be dealt with in the second period. This clearly shows lack of diligence on the part of local management committees.
The deputy PM has asked local authorities to step up measures for strict penalization of polluters, meet targets of tackling environmental pollution by 2020 and establish environmental protection funds to assist enterprises financially for tackling pollution in their plants.
He asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to cooperate with relevant agencies to strengthen inspections of enterprises, particularly for environmental protection.