The Binh Thuan Province administration has instructed officials to resolve the environmental issues plaguing the Vinh Tan No 2 thermal power plant following local protests against its discharge of untreated waste.
On Tuesday, People’s Committee Chairman Le Tien Phuong wrote to provincial agencies and the Electric Power Generation Corp No 3, telling the latter to urge the plant to thoroughly address the pollution caused by smoke and dust over the past several weeks.
The measures include temporary suspension of production at its turbine No 2.
The People’s Committee ordered the province’s Department of Mineral Resources and Environment to co-operate with Tuy Phong District authorities and other related agencies to regularly inspect, monitor, and assess the pollution caused by the turbine and penalise violations of environmental regulations.
It ordered police and district authorities to ensure safety and prevent protests like the one organised by local residents against the pollution on May 14 and 15.
Thousands of people had blockaded National Highway No 1A for many hours, stopping traffic, to complain about coal dust and cinder blown from the power complex, especially from the newly built Vinh Tan No 2.
Vehicles backed up for dozens of kilometres on the arterial north-south highway.
“Pollution due to cinder and coal dust from the Vinh Tan Electricity Complex is serious and severely impacts local people’s daily life,” the Government website quoted Nguyen Thanh Sang, chairman of the Vinh Tan Commune People’s Committee, as saying.
Though the pollution has been occurring for long, the complex has not done anything to address it, he said.
He called on the Ministries of Industry and Trade, and Construction to use the cinder for production of cement and non-flammable construction materials.
The People’s Committee had earlier urged the thermal complex to cover and water its cinder dumping ground, but nothing was done even after it slapped a fine of VND1.5 billion (US$69,500) for the pollution.
After the demonstration, the thermal plant stopped moving cinder out to the dumping spot for 10 days.
The 6,000sq.m dumping ground was later watered and covered with canvas.
Following the demonstration, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai instructed the Binh Thuan People’s Committee to inform local people about these measures and maintain social order and security.
The Electricity of Viet Nam has promised to fully resolve the problem.
Binh Thuan provincial authorities had also reported the new development to PM Nguyen Tan Dung.