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Proposed environment law could turn VN into world’s rubbish dump

03 June 2014 | 01:51:40 PM

National Assembly’s Deputies have strongly protested against a proposed regulation that would allow enterprises to import used vessels for domestic demolishment, warning that Vietnam could turn into the world’s rubbish dump.

Agreeing that the import of old ships for demolishment would bring economic benefits and help create jobs, National Assembly’s deputies, however, warned that this would do more harm than good.

Huynh Minh Hoang, a deputy from Bac Lieu Province, pointed out that thousands of unowned containers of import scrap materials are still lying at ports, causing serious pollution.

Hoang said that Vietnam needs to remove the provision on allowing the import of some kinds of old vessels for domestic demolishment from the Environment Protection Law, warning that the demolishment would generate toxins, including substances that cause cancer.

“That is why developed countries don’t do this (demolish old ships) anymore, handing it over to developing countries, including Vietnam,” Hoang noted.

Chair of the National Assembly’s Committee of Science, Technology and the Environment Phan Xuan Dung reassured the public that the imported scrap materials, included on the Prime Minister’s list of materials allowed to be imported to Vietnam, must meet environmental standards to enter the domestic market.

However, analysts have doubts that the regulation will be respected. Enterprises still try to import rubbish to make profits, and they would abandon imports at ports if customs discovers that the containers do not meet the standards to enter Vietnam.

Nguyen Minh Lam from Long An Province said that generating more jobs is not a convincing reason to allow the import of old vessels.

“I am afraid that in the near future, Vietnam would become the world’s biggest rubbish dump. I strongly recommend against the import of old vessels,” Lam said.

In fact, Vietnam is on the horns of a dilemma because it has to deal with a lot of old and unusable vessels its enterprises have bought.

In 2006-2007, Vien Duong Company Ltd, a subsidiary of Vinashin, spent $200 million to buy 10 old ships aged more than 15 years.

Since the ships were too old, they could not be registered in Vietnam. Therefore, they have to join the domestic market under Panama, Tuvalu or Liberia flags.

Meanwhile, Vinalines in 2005-2010 alone bought 73 ships, mostly old ones. One of the ships was 33 years old at the time it was sold, while 17 out of the 73 ships could not meet the standards to be registered in Vietnam. Vinalines also bought Lively Falcon, a 30-year-old vessel, under the permission of the Ministry of Transport, which now flies with foreign flag.

Trinh The Khiet, a National Assembly deputy from Hanoi, said in local newspapers that Vietnam has become the rubbish dump for the world’s waste technologies.

What is noteworthy is that the “rubbish dump” has been bought with money from taxpayers. Vietnam has to spend trillions of dong to buy the rubbish dump and now it is going to spend another trillions of dong to deal with it.
Source: Dat Viet/VNN

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