80% of Vietnam Factories Breach Pollution Rules

Half the 418 enterprises in 41 cities and provinces inspected last year were fined for breaching pollution control rules.

Eight out of ten factories and industrial parks in Vietnam breach environmental regulations, state media reported on July 17, citing a government study. The survey of more than 400 enterprises found many "lacked even the most basic awareness of environmental issues," said the deputy head of the Environmental Protection Department, Nguyen Hoa Binh, according to the state-run Vietnam News daily.

Vietnam has seen more than 7% economic growth for over a decade, but the boom has taken a heavy environmental toll, turning many waterways into open sewers and leaving landscapes littered with toxic waste. Binh said more than half the 418 enterprises in 41 cities and provinces inspected last year were fined for breaching pollution control rules. They included ship wreckyards and craft villages. Less than one fifth of the enterprises visited by the inspectors had waste-water facilities of an acceptable standard, the report said.

Ministry inspectors are also investigating ship-builder Hyundai Vinashin for allegedly trying to dump 60 tons of toxic waste near a residential area in Khanh Hoa province last week, reported the Sai Gon Giai Phong newspaper.

A World Bank study this month said "the cost to the economy of pollution, which is increasing in volume and toxicity, are becoming evident to the government and the public at large."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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