Friday, February 17, 2012

Factory runs in trial basis, killing fishes

The Dung Quat bio-ethanol plant had been put into a trial operation just for a short time until a trouble occurred. The untreated waste water discharged to the environment, killing fishes and other aquatic resources.

The trouble has made local residents furious.

On February 13, tens of people brought trees with themselves to the entrance door of the bio-ethanol plant to express their protest against the behavior of causing pollution.

Dan Viet’s reporters, who arrived in the site on February 13, could see with their eyes--the fish, snails, shrimp dieing in the fields of Dong Quang in Dong Lu hamlet, which gave terrible smell to a whole large area. Not only the fishes in the field, but the ducks raised by the local households nearby have also died in masses.

Dang Vinh Nghi, Chair of PetroVietnam Central Biofuels Joint Stock Company (PCB) which runs the bio-ethanol plant admitted that the waste water from the plant has caused the death to the aquatic resources. However, he said that the company did not try to discharge untreated waste water to the environment. This was just a trouble occurring during the trial run of a workshop of the plant.

On February 13, the Quang Ngai People’s Committee, the Dung Quat Economic Zone and relevant branches sent staff to the site to examine the pollution situation in the areas around the bio-ethanol plant.

On the same day, the Quang Ngai provincial authorities had a meeting with local residents and managers of the plant discussing the solutions to settle the problem. Pham Nhu So, Deputy Chair of Quang Ngai province requested the plant to isolate the polluted area and not to let the pollution spreading. He has also told the plant to treat the pollution to ensure the living environment. Local officials have been told to calculate the losses incurred by people, so that the bio-ethanol plant will compensate for the losses.

The bio-ethanol plant invested by PBC, has the total investment capital of 100 million dollar. PTSC is the EPC contractor of the plant. The plant is now in a trial run. It makes biofuel from cassava. The first batch of products came out on February 3.

It is estimated that the volume of untreated waste water discharged to the environment had reached 2000 cubic meters.

In the latest news, Ho Sy Long, Director of PCB, on February 14 said that the company claims the responsibility for the incident and promised to compensate local farmers. “We are contacting some companies in HCM City to bring chemicals to the site to treat the pollution. We will complete the environment treatment within the day,” Long said.

Meanwhile, Nguyen Quoc Tan, Head of the Quang Ngai province’s environment sub-department, said that this is a kind of organic pollution. The environment monitoring center has taken water samples for testing.

“In the immediate time, we will treat the smell with EM product. It is expected that the treatment would be completed by the end of the week,” he said on Kinh te nong thon on February 14.

In related news, the death of fish in masses also reported occurred on Cai Tau river in Ca Mau river. This has been blamed on the leaking of the waste water from the Ca Mau fertilizer plant.

Ngo Chi Hung, Head of the Ca Mau provincial environment sub-department said that the ammoniac content in the river’s water is 15 times higher than the allowed level, which has caused to the fish deaths.

However, in this case, the plant will not be punished, according to Hung, because the plant did not deliberately cause the problem, while fish in farmers’ ponds remain safe.