Unprotected by local authorities, people take over polluting factories
VietNamNet Bridge - Laying siege to polluting factories to prevent the factories from continuing discharging untreated waste into the environment is the choice that many people make because they cannot rely on the local authorities.

Vietnam, demonstration, environment protection law, MONRE

Hundreds of people in Duong Kinh district of Hai Phong City in late August laid a siege to Thanh To factory to demonstrate their protest against the Duc Viet Anh Trade Company’s and De Nhat plastics workshop’s activities which cause the environment pollution.

Local people said Duc Viet Anh is organizing the production in a place just 300 meters from the residential quarter. 

In March 2013, the company began cooperating with Da Nang Ore Company, which was forced by local authorities to stop production one year before, to smelt ore. 

People have many times lodged complaints about the polluting factory to local authorities, but the problem still has not been settled so far. 

Duc Viet Anh maintains its operation despite a strong protest from the public.

On August 14, the burnt smell once again reached houses in the residential quarter, where people were having dinner. This was the ‘final straw’ which prompted people to take actions to protect their lives.

“We couldn’t sleep that night because of the terrible smell. We don’t know what will happen if the company continues its production like this,” a local woman said. 

Dam Van Vien, deputy chair of Anh Dung Ward People’s Committee, said on August 15, when the local authorities officials came to inspect the factory, they saw about 30 cubic meters of materials in the furnace and the same amount prepared for burning.

“The company’s representative said the materials were activated carbon. But it was obvious they weren’t,” he said.

Dong Duy Vinh, deputy chair of Duong Kinh district, said the local authorities had an open dialogue with people to discuss the solutions to the problem.

However, a local resident said he doubted the problem could be settled after a meeting was held with the local authorities.

He said locals went on to demonstrate because they had no other choice to protect their lives from pollution.

A lawyer noted that more demonstrations relating to pollution have been reported recently because people do not think they can expect the local authorities to help.

On April 15, 2015, traffic on a 10 kilometer section on Highway No 1 was jammed because hundreds of people gathered there to protest the Vinh Tan thermal power plant, which caused serious pollution to a nearby area with cinder and ash.

And on April 20, hundreds of aquaculture households in Cam Ranh City gathered in front of Cam Phuc Bac Ward’s office to protest against dredgers that had caused pollution..

Dat Viet

Vietnam, demonstration, environment protection law, MONRE