The 2005 Environment Protection Law and guiding documents have become inappropriate in current conditions and they overlap other laws, said a law expert at a conference held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dr. Nguyen Van Phuong from Hanoi Law University said that the law contained some rules which were no longer relevant, causing difficulties when implementing the law. The overlap between laws led to an inefficiency in environment protection and economic development.
Specifically, the law lacked environmental technological standards to work as a legal base to distinguish scrap allowed for import from scrap which is forbidden. This made it hard for scrap importers and management agencies when enforcing the law.
Pham Chi Cuong, chairman of the Vietnam Steel Association (VSA), said many members of VSA were no longer permitted to import old ships for scrap. “Several villages in Haiphong City and central Vietnam’s provinces do not have locals dissemble ships any longer. Many have left for Cambodia to work.”
Besides, when put in a furnace at a temperature of 5,000 degrees Celsius, impurities of steel hulls were eliminated, Cuong said.
Many articles of the law and guiding documents were vague and contained many loopholes which could be abused, he added.
Vu Quoc Tuan, chairman of the Vietnam Craft Village Association, said there were around 2,800 craft villages nationwide with some 11 million laborers but environment pollution in these villages was now very severe. Therefore, most villages might receive fines and even be effaced if management agencies imposed the current environment law.
However, technology should be applied in any craft villages to reduce pollution as the cost of tackling pollution was huge, said Vo Van Khanh, deputy director of the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment. Hanoi, for instance, had spent nearly VND300 billion building a waste water treatment facility for three villages.
Luong Minh Thao, deputy head of the Environment Police Bureau, said some 20,000 cases of polluting the environment resulted in fines but none were prosecuted due to a lack of sanctions.