HCM CITY - Deputy Primer Minister Hoang Trung Hai has called for severe self-criticism from the managers of the Vinh Tan Thermal Plant No 2 and ordered them to ensure there is no more environmental pollution or adverse effects on local residents, thousands of whom had demonstrated and stopped traffic on National Highway No 1A this month.
The Binh Thuan Province-based plant had earlier covered its 6,000sq.m cinder dumping ground with canvas and watered it, fully covered all its trucks carrying cinder, and began to clean the roads regularly pending construction of dedicated roads for the trucks.
It had improved water supply in the dumping area and poured water on the cinder to prevent it from flying and made sure all necessary equipment to limit pollution was in working order.
At a meeting held yesterday to review the situation, Hai stressed that the Government constantly reminded all thermal power producers to limit pollution, and criticised Vinh Tan Thermal Plant No 2 for ignoring all such instructions.
He said the plant had to get new technologies to prevent the cinder and coal dust from scattering and to use the cinder for production of cement and non-flammable construction materials.
He instructed the ministries of Industry and Trade and Construction and the Viet Nam Electricity Corporation to review all thermal plants in the central province of Quang Binh and all the way to the south and collaborate with cement plants to use the cinder for their production.
The fact is that technology for using cinder to produce cement and non-flammable construction materials already exists and demand for cinder is huge. What missing is co-operation between cinder sellers and buyers.
"If we can manage to collect cinder for cement production, it will both bring financial benefit and resolve the pollution problem," Hai said.
In the middle of this month, thousands of local people demonstrated near Vinh Tan, stopping traffic on National Highway No 1A for a whole night to complain about coal dust and cinder blown in from the power plant that was seriously impacting their daily lives.
The blockade caused vehicles to back up for dozens of kilometres on the arterial north-south highway.
Though the problem has been occurring for a long time, the plant has not done anything to address it even after being slapped a fine of VND1.5 billion (S$80,000) for pollution.