Archive for the ‘fines’ Category

Vietnam environment minister proposes higher fines for polluters

November 11, 2008

Vietnam’s environment minister on Tuesday proposed raising penalties for industrial polluters and admitted that current fines are too low to act as effective deterrents.

Pham Khoi Nguyen was answering questions in the national assembly following a series of pollution scandals in which companies from Taiwan and other countries have been caught pumping toxic wastewater into rivers.

Nguyen, the minister for natural resources and the environment, admitted that the problem was widespread and that after over a decade of rapid industrialisation “Vietnam’s environment now is seriously polluted.”

“At present, Vietnam has 110 industrial zones in operation,” the minister said, adding that less than one third of them had adequate treatment systems for wastewater and other toxic effluent.

The government was aware of at least 4,000 factories and other entities now polluting rivers and the air, he said, but he added that his ministry lacked the resources and staff to effectively crack down on them.

Nguyen said environmental inspectors have to inform factories of site visits in advance, and that polluting factories now face maximum fines of just 70 million dong (4,100 dollars) per breach of regulations.

“Many factories accept paying the fine in order to operate,” he said. “The level of the fine is not high enough to be a threat. We have proposed raising the maximum fine to 500 million dong (29,800 dollars).”

–AFP

Vietnam to Tighten Environmental Monitoring After Fining, Suspending Operations of Company

October 15, 2008

By Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) — Vietnam will tighten surveillance of companies’ production after suspending operations of Vedan Vietnam Co. a Hong Kong-invested monosodium glutamate maker, on environmental faults, the government’s Web site said.

“Given the lessons learned from Vedan’s environmental violations, which caused serious consequences, the Prime Minister requested heads of ministries and provinces not to lose control of environmental protection,” the statement said. “We must make sure the next generations don’t pay for this.”

Foreign-investment commitments to Vietnam increased almost fivefold in the first nine months, leading to increased monitoring of factories’ activities in rural areas.

The government earlier this month suspended Vedan’s operations and ordered the company to pay 127.3 billion dong ($7.7 million) by Nov. 6 for improperly discharging effluent and chemicals into a river. Vedan’s Vietnam unit accounted for half of Hong Kong-based Vedan International Holdings Ltd.’s revenue last year, according to Bloomberg data.

The government will use the money paid by Vedan to clean up the Thi Vai river in southern Vietnam, according to today’s statement. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung also asked ministries to tighten environmental-protection regulations if necessary, the statement said.

Miwon Vietnam Co., a unit of Seoul-based Daesang Holdings Co., was inspected by environmental-protection authorities this month, Vietnam News Agency reported Oct. 8. The monosodium- glutamate maker is based in the northern province of Phu Tho.

Local authorities have proposed the government suspend the operations of Miwon’s drainage system, which was found to be releasing untreated waste water into a river near Hanoi, the report said. The inspection came after complaints from local residents about health problems and signs of air and water pollution in the area around the factory, VNA said.