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Brewery pays for the right to pollute environment?

(22:59:06 PM 20/04/2014)
(Tinmoitruong.vn) - A brewery in the central province of Nghe An, long resented by its neighbors, has nevertheless been welcomed with open arms by the local authorities, because it is a big tax payer.


Saigon-Ha Tinh Brewery.

The people in Truong Thi Ward in Nghe An Province have been living with the bad odor from the Saigon-Ha Tinh Brewery for the last several years. The local air has become so noxious that people wear protective masks while sleeping.

 

A senior official of the Nghe An provincial police confirmed that the brewery has been severely polluting the environment. Fines have been imposed on many occasions. The brewery’s managers have promised to resolve the problems, but as yet, no improvement has been forthcoming.

 

While nothing has been done to settle the environmental problems, the brewery is moving ahead with plans to double its capacity – from 25 million liters per annum to 50 million.

 

News of these plans has sowed outrage among the brewery’s neighbors. Fearing that a surge in production will be accompanied by a similar rise in discharge from the plant’s smokestacks, they have voiced strong opposition to the plan. In May of last year, Nguyen Tat Thien, Chair of the Truong Thi Ward People’s Committee, sent a document to Saigon-Nghe Tinh, urging that measures to protect the environment and the local people be instituted with due haste.

 

On January 17, 2014, the environment ministry’s inspectors imposed a VND40 million fine on the brewery for its discharge of carbon monoxide (CO) exceeding maximum allowable levels.

 

The brewery, in a report released in February, admitted that an incident did occur at the brewery in 2013, involving the waste water and smoke treatment system.

 

Other incidents also occurred last year, including a large release of coal dust which was dispersed to the residential quarters, emissions of bad odors, noise and unhygienic conditions.

 

However, though the pollution problem has not improved and the brewery has not done anything to settle other existing problems, it has nevertheless received the nod from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment (MONRE) on its environmental protection plan. This  paves the way for Saigon Ha-Tinh to implement its expansion plans.

 

… is welcomed warmly because it brings money

 

While the Saigon-Nghe Tinh brewery faces the wrath of its neighbors, provincial senior officials are showing it the red carpet.

 

Deputy Chair of the Nghe An provincial People’s Committee, Huynh Thanh Dien, released a document in January commending the brewery for its high contribution to the area’s tax base. The document reveals that, in 2013, the brewery paid VND167 billion in taxes. And Mr. Dien urged officials of Truong Thi Ward to persuade their constituents to create the best possible conditions for the brewery’s continued operation.

 

Commenting about the provincial authorities’ instructions, Le Xuan Hoa, a resident in Vinh City, said he could not imagine that people’s health and lives could be so neglected. “Do they want to exchange the people’s health and lives for VND167 billion?” he questioned.

Source: Phap Luat
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