Vietnam considers lowering environmental standards on treatment of ash, slag
VietNamNet Bridge - As the amount of ash and slag left untreated at coal-fired thermopower plants is increasing, some ministries have proposed lowering the required environmental standards to help the plants deal with the problem.


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The Vietnam Thermal Science & Technology Association (VTA) has asked permission to allow the thermopower plants, set up before national standards on thermopower industrial emissions were released, to continue applying emission standards approved before the new standards. 

Le Huy Ba, Director of the Institute of Science, Technology and Environmental Management, said he ddid not agree with the proposal on lowering the required standards to create favorable conditions for the plants to continue operation.

He said that all the plants must comply with standards to ensure safety for the environment.

The Vietnam Thermal Science & Technology Association  has asked permission to allow the thermopower plants, set up before national standards on thermopower industrial emissions were released, to continue applying emission standards approved before the new standards. 

“We mustn’t lower the environmental requirements for old plants. Standards are something that all plants must follow,” he said. 

The scientist said that ash and slag are dangerous and are threats to air quality. Therefore, new requirements on thermopower plants was a must.

Ba noted that Vinh Tan thermopower plant produced dust, smoke and caused serious pollution as it did not follow the steps planned in the approved report on possible impact on the environment.

“I don’t support the thermopower plants like Vinh Tan. Ash and slag spread which may cause air pollution,” he said, adding that Vietnam should not encourage the development of coal-fired thermal power because it causes pollution.

He said that China, which suffers heavily from air pollution, is determined to remove thermopower plants, especially coal-fired plants. 

Meanwhile, Vietnam continues to develop thermal power and imports outdated technology from China.

Nguyen Thanh Son, former director of the Red River Delta’s Coal Mining Project Management Board, commented that VTA’s proposal is in line with the PM’s statement that Vietnam will not sacrifice the environment for economic benefits.

Phung Chi Sy from the Institute of Tropical Technology and Environmental Protection commented that Vietnamese national standards don’t have retroactivity. This means that once new standards are set, all plants and enterprises have to follow the new standards. 

“I agree that it is necessary to set new standards which must be followed by new plants. As for old plants, they will need time to change technology and make additional investments to satisfy the new requirements. This cannot be done overnight,” he said.


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