A group of former high-raking officials and economists in Vietnam have proposed halting implementation of a bauxite exploitation project in the Central Highlands region.
Disaster from red-mud reservoirs in Hungary
The group includes Former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh, Former Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dang Hung Vo and Professor Chu Hao.
In a petition recently sent to the Politburo, the National Assembly and the Government, the former officials and economists urged these agencies to suspend the construction of Tan Rai alumina plant in Tan Rai, Lam Dong Province and cancel negotiations with foreign partners for Nhan Co alumina project in Dak Nong Province.
They also proposed halting the implementation of the bauxite exploitation project in the Central Highlands for more comprehensive research; setting up an independent task force for the research and announcing the research results at National Assembly meetings followed by seeking public opinions on the issue.
The group said that the implementation of the above mentioned projects would negatively impact the environment as well as harming national defense and security, adding that the recent red-mud incident in Hungary is a lesson for Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Vietnam will have to pour huge investments into these projects which will see low capacity of profitability due to shortage of the input materials, water source and power. Besides, this will lead to environmental pollution in the Central Highlands because production of a tonne of an alumina power will discharge 3 tonnes of toxic mud waste.
As a result, a lake containing tens of millions of cubic metres of red mud will bring about environmental disasters in the delta region of Dong Nai River, according to the petition.
Earlier, the Politburo had recommended the government carefully consider proposals and suggestions from scientists and economists for the bauxite project. The construction of Nhan Co alumina project should only decided after efficiency of the underway Tan Rai alumina project was proved.
On the sidelines of the on-going National Assembly session this morning (October 23), Minister and Chairman of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Phuc said “We are collecting all suggestions and proposals on the bauxite project to submit them to the government soon. The Central Committee of the Party, the Government and the National Assembly have approved the bauxite projects, therefore, they will consider halting it or not.”
On October 4, the open-air bauxite sludge storage pool outside an alumina plant in western Hungary overflowed, spilling into the town of Ajka (Ajkai) and, from there, into the countryside. The Hungarian government considers this as the national history’s worst disaster. Around 1.1 million cubic metres of red-mud spilled into the surrounding areas, killing five people and causing 122 injuries and 6 unaccounted for. Up to 270 houses were swept away and many roads were also ruined.
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