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Total solid waste from industrial zones in Vietnam in 2015 is expected to be 6-7.5 million tons, twice as much as 2009 (3 million tons), while the figure is forecast to increase by 13.5 times by 2020.
Dr. Nguyen Huu Ninh, a renowned environmental expert, noted that the national economy has been growing well in recent years thanks to the strong development of Vietnamese businesses. But businesses are causing pollution.
Ninh said 95 percent of Vietnamese enterprises are small and medium sized, which operate with modest investment capital. Limited financial capability does not allow enterprises to spend money on waste treatment systems.
The increasing amount of solid waste cannot be collected and treated. It is piled up in the open air or thrown into rivers and canals, polluting water sources, land and air.
Ninh noted that in the north, solid waste is mostly from craft villages, especially metal recycling ones which produce metal dust, rust and scrap metal. In the south, the danger is from industrial zones (IZ) and export processing zones (EPZ).
Pham Thanh Truc from the HCM City IZ and EPZ Board of Management (Hepza) said thousands of enterprises operate in 12 IZs and EPZs in the city.
Meanwhile, it is estimated that the number of IZs and EPZs will double in several years, which means environmental problems would be even more serious.
A report shows that in 2010, HCM City churned out 10,000 tons of industrial solid waste a day, half of which is hazardous industrial solid waste. The figure is much higher now.
Hepza has asked industrial producers to treat water and solid waste themselves or hire environmental service firms to treat the waste.
The city’s authorities have spent big money to help treat waste. However, the pollution remains serious.
In 2014, Hepza had to deal with 23 complaints from people about pollution caused by the enterprises in IZs and EPZs.
Truc noted that enterprises in IZs do not attach much importance to environmental treatment solutions. Many enterprises report they have waste treatment systems, but the systems only run when they are inspected by the local authorities.
Tran Viet Hung, deputy chair of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA), noted that the only long-term solution to environmental problems was to develop clean and green production models.