40m tall “mountain” of toxic waste in Hai Phong
VietNamNet Bridge – The DAP – Dinh Vu fertilizer plant in Dinh Vu industrial zone in the northern port city of Hai Phong – has discharged millions of tons of waste after 7 years of operation. The waste has changed the color of the water, eroded metal and destroyed fauna and floral systems in the surrounding area.

Concern about environmental pollution in Vietnam National Chemical Group (Vinachem)’s DAP Dinh Vu Plant were deepened when the local authorities’ investigation uncovered environmental violations during its operations.

On August 8, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha ordered the investigation after receiving complaints from locals that the fertiliser plant discharges solid waste containing gypsum. This chemical contains toxic phosphor, which in large volumes can cause serious environmental pollution and harm people’ health.

Ha assigned the Vietnam Environment Administration (VEA) to check the plant’s operation and report to him before August 12.

On August 10, Dinh Vu DAP’s general director Nguyen Van Sinh submitted a report to the VEA on its environmental protection measures as well as its waste treatment system.

Accordingly, toxicity volumes in the waste sample were under the permitted level. Notably, the total phosphate (P2O5) volume in the gypsum residue is under 1 per cent, well below the permitted level of maximum 1.4 per cent, the pH content is higher than 2.2, and, especially, no P2O5 overflows into the environment were detected.

In addition, Dinh Vu DAP confirmed that it absolutely complies with the contents of the environmental impact assessment report approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE).

However, the Hai Phong Department of Natural Resources and Environment’s  unannounced inspection on July 20 showed very different results than the company’s report. Notably, the sulphur volume exceeds 1.05 time more than the permitted level. Besides, the pH content in the gypsum residue stands between 2.09 and 2.01 instead of the 2.2 level reported by the company.

In the larger context, this  is the fifth time the company causes an environmental break-down since it started operation in April 2009.    

Notably, on July 26, 2009, Dinh Vu DAP leaked seven tonnes of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) from its depot. However, employees prevented the spillage from spreading out the environment and managed to contain it within the plant’s grounds.

On February 25, 2011, another leak incident, this time ammonia (NH3), actually reached the environment.

On June 23, 2013, the company’s reservoir overflew, killing fishes in residents’ ponds. The company had to pay a compensation of VND115 million ($5,198) to the residents.

On September 4, 2015, the company negligently dumped seven cubic metres of gypsum residue into the environment.

In addition, VEA’s conclusion released on May 10, 2016, showed that the company has once again violated environmental regulations. Notably, according to the environmental impact assessment, the gypsum landfill area is supposed to be 10 hectares and the licensed storage time is three years only. However, in reality, the landfill has an area of 13 hectares and the storage time reaches up to five years.

Furthermore, during inspection, the local authorities detected that the infrastructure for environmental protection does not meet the regulated standards and hides risks of environmental pollution.

The Hai Phong Department of Natural Resources and Environment submitted documents to the MoNRE and the Ministry of Industry and Trade to call attention to the Dinh Vu DAP case of environmental pollution.


The $172.3 million DAP Dinh Vu plant, invested in by DAP - Vinachem JSC, was approved by the Prime Minister, with a yearly capacity of 330,000 tonnes. The plant was built by a Chinese contractor, who won the bid at the price of $165 million. The construction began in July 2003 and the plant was put into operation in 2009. 

After seven years in operation, the plant has discharged millions of tons of untreated waste called gypsum. The waste has caused serious pollution to the surrounding area. 

To make use of the waste, a few years ago DAP Dinh Vu built a $10 million plant to process gypsum into plaster. However, after selling 200,000 tonnes of this product as an additive to produce cement, this plant stopped operation. 

DAP Dinh Vu plant’s two waste dump sites totaling 18.4 hectares contain mountains of waste of up to 40m high. Pollution caused by the plant’s waste was the burning issue at many meetings of the local government.

Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha has assigned the General Department of Environment and the Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Hai Phong City to inspect and handle the case.

The waste causes serious pollution


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