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Residents fear company’s waste water pipe plan

The Vinatex International Toms Textile Garment Co Ltd plans to set up a waste water pipe in Hải Thọ Commune, but local residents aren’t happy.

As the harvest season is coming, Phan Minh, chairman of the Hải Thọ Commune People’s Committee in Hải Lăng District, the central province of Quảng Trị, is already worried about rice fields in the commune becoming waterlogged. If the VIT Company discharged water here, the situation would be even worse. In response to concerns, the commune authorities sent a letter to the Quảng Trị Province People’s Committee to remove the pipes.

“Rice fields here are 0.75m lower than the sea level, so water is abundant. In the beginning and by the end of the season, residents must pay expenses to suck water out of the fields,” he said.

The company’s planned pipeline would discharger water in the amount of 300cu.m per day.

“Residents worry that the waste water pipes could break, affecting their lives and work,” he said.

Phan Khắc Tân, a resident and a member of the Thọ Nam Co-operative, said that the co-operative’s fields abound with water despite their constant efforts to pump it out.

“If the VIT Company’s waste water is discharged here, who will pay for the fees to pump out the water?” he said.

“Not mention, the waste water could be poisonous,” he added. “It is sure to affect our lives.”

The VIT Company has two waste water pipes. One discharges water into the Khe Chè River in Hải Lăng District whereas another discharges water into the Hải Thọ Commune.

Earlier, local residents discovered that the company discharged waste water without asking for permission of the Quảng Trị Province People’s Committee.

On August 15, the provincial People’s Committee issued a document asking the VIT Company to complete its waste water treatment system and continuously send activity reports to the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

The provincial People’s Committee also asked the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment to take water samples from the Khe Chè River and the Hải Thọ Commune’s channel before and after the company discharges its waste water for tests. The test results must be announced to local residents.

A spokesman from the Quảng Trị Province People’s Committee told the Lao động (Labour) newspaper that the province would allow the company to discharge its waste water if it completes all the above duty.

Local residents disagree with the plan to set up waste water pipe in Hải Thọ Commune, so the committee could consider requiring the company to pump its waste water into the sea, he said.