Vietnam seeking solutions to industrial waste
VietNamNet Bridge - Industrial waste dumped at landfills is causing significant environmental problems in the country. As Vietnam's economy grows, industrial waste disposal has become more of a challenge. 


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The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment’s (MONRE) report on the current state of the environment in 2011-2015 showed that industrial production generates 4.7 million tons of solid waste each year. The waste is mainly treated by burying or burning at industrial incinerators.

Landfills remain the major way of treating waste in Vietnam because of its simplicity and low cost. This allows enterprises to save money on waste treatment, and therefore, cut  the production cost.

A report released at the 2015 national environment conference showed that by 2013, Vietnam had 458 solid waste landfills with an area of more than 1 hectare for each. Smaller landfills in localities were not counted.

As waste cannot be sorted at source, landfills have to receive waste of different kinds, from domestic garbage, electronic waste, industrial solvent to hazardous waste containing mercury, arsenic, cadmium and lead.   

Industrial waste dumped at landfills is causing significant environmental problems in the country. As Vietnam's economy grows, industrial waste disposal has become more of a challenge. 
When industrial waste is buried, the decomposition process produces bad odors, flies and leaking water that cause pollution. The wind will bring bad odor into the air, while waste water will be absorbed into the earth, thus polluting underground water.

The 2011-2015 report on the current state of the environment named diseases caused by pollution, including diarrhea, lower respiratory tract infections, injury and malaria.

According to the Ministry of Health, nearly half of 26 infectious diseases have causes related to polluted water. The common diseases are diarrhea caused by Rota virus, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, encephalitis, helminth, trachoma and mosquito-borne diseases.

The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that babies born to mothers who live near burial sites face high risk for birth defects. In addition, landfills may reduce immune function, leading to an increased risk of infection, asthma and many other consequences.

Nguyen Cong Dong, director of Geocycle Vietnam, an industrial waste treatment company, said that developed countries have been applying alternative solutions instead of burying waste as they have been aware of the consequences of the landfill. Enterprises have to learn about different ways of treating industrial waste to save money.

Reports showed that reasonable taxation and policies have brought the desired effects as the buried industrial waste has decreased from 100 million tons in 1997 to less 30 million tons by 2013. 

If enterprises continue burying industrial waste, they will need very large land funds to receive the increasingly high volume of waste. Meanwhile, Vietnam needs more land for public works and people’s housing. 


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Mai Nam
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