Results of Lee&Man pulp mill inspection unknown

The public is still anxiously waiting for official results of an inspection into Lee&Man Vietnam Paper Co Ltd’s pulp mill which is feared to pollute a river in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang.

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The General Department of Environment worked with relevant agencies over the inspection at the paper company from July 1 as there were concerns that its paper project in Phu Huu A Commune, Chau Thanh District would seriously contaminate the nearby Hau River when it is commissioned.

More than two months have passed since the agency started looking into the paper project licensing process, the environmental impact assessment report, wastewater treatment technology, and the firm’s compliance with construction rules and environmental standards.

However, provincial officials say results of the inspections have not been made available when asked by the Daily.

Ho Van Phu, director of the Hau Giang Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said his department has not received the inspection results. But he assured that the chief inspector would make an announcement as soon as the inspection is complete.

Earlier, Vo Hung Dung, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Can Tho City, said he had not been informed of when the announcement comes. VCCI Can Tho was authorized to join forces with Hau Giang authorities in publicizing information about the Lee&Man case.

On June 30, as ordered by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the General Department of Environment announced a decision launching an inspection into the compliance with environment regulations of Lee&Man Vietnam and other enterprises in the province.

The inspections would be conducted in 45 business days from the date of announcement. As for the Lee&Man project, it was inspected in three days, starting July 1, but the inspection results have not been made public so far despite the growing anticipation.

Le Anh Tuan, deputy director of the Institute for Climate Change Research at Can Tho University, said the findings must be made available to the public, who will then give feedback to ensure transparency and determine if the case has been taken seriously.

Lee&Man Vietnam under Lee&Man Paper Hong Kong began work on the paper project worth US$1.2 billion in August 2007 but construction work was later suspended before resumption in 2014. It has an annual capacity of 420,000 tons and is scheduled to come online later this year after a test run in mid-July.


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