Government ministries and agencies that own and manage companies in HCM City must take steps to penalise those who violate environmental regulations, industry insiders have said.
HCM CITY —
Of the 37 polluting companies in HCM City, 31 have corrected their problems while the remaining six are still behind in minimising pollution, according to Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper.
The group includes two joint-ventures, 20 ministry - and agency-governed companies, 14 city-owned businesses, and one privately owned company.
The city Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) said the six companies include the Ba Son Shipyard, the Sai Gon Alcohol, Beer and Beverage Corporation (Sabeco), Sai Gon Tobacco Company, Ha Tien Cement Company, Posvina Tole Joint Venture Co Ltd, and Viet Thang Jean Co Ltd.
The department said these six businesses were expected to stop polluting the environment by the second quarter of this year at the earliest and 2015 at the latest.
Sabeco said construction of its wastewater treatment system would end by this year's second-quarter, while Sai Gon Tobacco Company has set June 30 as the deadline to move its equipment and machinery from Tran Phu Street in District 5.
A representative of Posvina Joint Venture Co Ltd said the company had received approval from the Dong Nai Province People's Committee to relocate to Nhon Trach II Industrial Park in Nhon Phu Commune.
He said it would not be until late 2012 that Posvina would suspend operations in District 9 and move to a new site.
Removal of the Ba Son Shipyard to Vung Tau is scheduled for 2015.
Ha Tien Cement Company and Viet Thang Jean Co Ltd have pledged to deal with pollution on-site but inspectors have still found the two companies violating environmental protection rules.
DNRE director Dao Anh Kiet said with the six companies being centrally governed, the lack of support from the ministry and agencies involved had retarded businesses' progress in addressing the problem.
Bui Cach Tuyen, deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said the slow removal of the remaining polluters in HCM Ciyt stemmed from the global economic downturn, which led to a drop in business investment in environmental protection.
He also said current outdated technology used to tackle pollution in the country had made it hard for several businesses to access a suitable model to handle pollution.
In addition, support policies, particularly in land assistance, had been implemented slowly.
Tuyen said that capital sources for pollution treatment had become more diverse, but businesses still found it difficult to access these sources of funding.
DNRE director Dao Anh Kiet said while the six companies have yet to take radical steps to address the problem, the department has regularly made inspections and forced the polluters to take multiple temporary measures.
For example, to reduce the impact on the environment, Ba Son Shipyard is conducting production in an enclosed workshop, and part of the shipyard's operation has been relocated to Nha Be and Can Gio districts.
The shipyard in District 1 is only engaged in building, not repairing, ships.
The city People's Committee has advanced VND200 billion to remove the shipyard to Cai Mep Port in southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Ha Tien Cement Company has invested in upgrading production technology and installed an electrostatic dust filtration system to minimise dust.
The company stopped operating one grinding machine, bought in 1964, out of its three grinders since the machine discharged most of the dust.
The Sabeco brewery on Nguyen Chi Thanh Street in District 5 has moved part of the operation to the Northwestern Industrial Park in Cu Chi District, and lowered production capacity to 160 million litres a year from 240 million litres a year.
The brewery also invested in a wastewater treatment system with a designed capacity of 1,200cu.m a day.
However, the overload has led to substandard quality of treated wastewater and the company said it would handle the problem by the second quarter.
Posvina Joint Venture Co Ltd has built a waste gas treatment system for the zinc-plating furnace, expected to be completed this November.
While reducing production capacity, Viet Thang Jean Co Ltd has committed to regularly operating a wastewater treatment facility.
The company said it would halt operation in case the treated wastewater was not up to required standards. — VNS