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VASEP raises serious environmental concerns about paper factory
Date: 6/21/2016 9:46:57 AM
The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) has proposed the government to scrutinise the waste treatment system of Hong Kong Lee&Man Paper Group’s $1.2 billion Lee&Man Paper Co.Ltd, located near the Hau River in the southern province of Hau Giang, before it comes into operation in August, according to newswire

According to Truong Dinh Hoe, general secretary of VASEP, checking is important because once the paper factory comes into operation, it will use 28,500 tonnes of NaOH per year for paper production, thus potentially discharging massive volumes of NaOH into Hau River if the factory lacks a proper waste treatment system. It will cause environmental pollution as well as impact seafood breeding in the  country’s key seafood production area.

Hoe added that when the factory’s construction was kicked off in 2007, VASEP also proposed the authorities to reconsider the site in order to avoid discharging NaOH into the river.
However, disregarding local residents as well as the associations qualms, a representative of the management board of the Hau Giang Industrial Zones Management Authority said that according to the factory’s report, it will use 215.217 kilogrammes of NaOH a day. A part of this NaOH volume will be reused, while the remaining NaOH will be treated before being discharged into the river. 
Licensed in June 2007, the 200-hectare project’s construction was kicked-off in August 2007. 
The project will have an initial capacity of 630,000 tonnes per year, which will be increased to more than two million tonnes per year in up coming years. It is expected to create hundreds of jobs for provincial residents and increase the provincial budget by a significant margin.
However, according to the investor, the project had to be put on hold because of the adverse effects of the global economic downturn. Construction was also delayed for a long period because the factory failed to meet environmental protection regulations.
The project’s investment license had been extended five times to date. In early 2015, the construction was officially resumed.
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