Pollution caused by Vinh Tan Thermal Power Complex in southern Binh Thuan Province still persists despite local authorities’ efforts to prevent cinders and ash from blowing into nearby residential areas.
Vinh Tan Thermal Power Complex consists of four projects in which Vinh Tan thermal plant No 2 was constructed and put into use since January last year. The other three plants (No 1, 3 and 4) are under construction.
A recent examination made by the provincial People’s Committee and relevant agencies last week shows that pollution control has yet to reach basic requirements.
Due to strong coastal winds, Vinh Tan thermal plant No 2 is still covered with obscure fumes and dust although the area is regularly watered as required by the local authorities.
In April last year, thousands of people had blockaded National Highway No 1A for many hours, stopping traffic, to complain about coal dust and cinder from the power complex, especially from the newly built Vinh Tan No 2.
In December last year, the coal dust spread to other under-construction plants. Soil dump along National Highway 1A has reportedly plagued locals’ lives.
According to Thien Thanh Son, deputy director of Vinh Tan No 2 plant, all 15ha of the cinder dump has been watered and covered with a canvas. Cinders are transported by special lorries that are covered with a canvas after being watered.
The lorries wash away all cinders and ash prior to leaving factories to make sure dust does not dissolve in the atmosphere.
The plant’s investor is also proactively working to look for units which are in demand of cinders and ash to limit their impact on the environment, he said.
Binh Thuan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has warned that the amount of cinders and ash will increase, in particular, when Vinh Tan power plants No 1, 3, 4 are put into operation. If there is no production base consuming the waste, it is very difficult to reduce pollution.
Binh Thuan People’s Committee urged the thermal power complex management board to stop all executive work in case wind speeds surge to level 8 and 9 (60 to 88 km per hour).
The provincial authorities ordered provincial Department of Industry and Trade to collaborate with the provincial police to closely monitor the polluted conditions and submit daily reports to the provincial People’s Committee.
During the examination, to thoroughly assess pollution levels of the plants, Ho Lam, director of the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment, said that water samples at the thermal complex had been taken for contamination level testing. The result will be announced by the end of this month.