Five months ago, the news about a paper packaging production project in Hau Giang province caused concern. Patrick Chung, CEO of Lee & Man Vietnam, the investor, had stated before the public that Lee & Man would use the ‘most advanced waste water treatment technology’ for the project.
Five months later, locals had to go to bed with protective masks as the plant, described by the CEO as ‘absolutely safe’, produced terrible odors, dust and noise in the trial run.
The VND5 trillion Taiwanese invested Dai Duong paper plant on the Tien River side licensed by the Hau Giang People’s Committee in 2016 has also caused a big headache to local authorities and people.
They were warned that the project would cause pollution to the Tien River and neighboring areas. Scientists, who were consulted, told local authorities to reject the project.
|If Vietnam does not change its way of developing its economy, it could be listed among the world’s top 10 countries with high pollution by 2035 and surpass China in pollution levels, economists have warned.|
In fact, there have been warnings for years and complaints from the public about such episodes. There have been many lessons, including the disastrous incidents caused by Vedan 10 years ago and Formosa Ha Tinh a year ago.
An expert from Hanoi Economics University has warned that if Vietnam continues developing industry this way, it would surpass China's pollution level.
China now is striving for ‘clean production’, refusing polluting industries while spending more money on aerospace, advanced robots and next-generation information technology.
What about Vietnam?
A Vietnam Economics Association study conducted by Nguyen Quang Thai and Bui Trinh pointed out that Vietnam is still pursuing an economic development strategy with industrial development as its top priority, followed by service and agriculture, while the impact on the environment and public debt has not been included.
The experts have estimated emission volumes based on two economic development scenarios.
With the first scenario, with the GDP growing by 6.5 percent in 2012-2020 and the industry and service sector making up 85 percent of GDP, the CO2 volume would increase from 139 million tons in 2010 to 263 million tons by 2020, while the total air waste volume would increase from 268 million to 480 million.
With the second scenario, 10 percent agriculture and 90 percent industry and service, the CO2 volume would be 288 million tons by 2020 and total air waste volume 491 million.