​Residents request relocation away from Hong Kong paper mill in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

People living near the Lee & Man paper mill have complained for the second time in the past six months

The Lee & Man paper mill is located along the Mai Dam River in the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Residents living near a Hong Kong-invested paper mill in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta have asked to be relocated due to the serious pollution caused by the plant.

People residing near the Lee & Man paper making complex along the Mai Dam River in Hau Giang Province have complained for the second time in the past six months that their lives had been impacted by the noise and smell from the plant.

Many locals say they have been unable to use the water from the river for their daily activities since the factory began operating for fear of environmental pollution.

Sixty-two households are suffering from a lack of fresh water as a result.

“I cannot imagine what the situation will be like once the firm reaches its full capacity,” Tran Van Long, a local resident, stated.

Long said he had asked the Hau Giang People’s Committee to plan on relocating the affected families as the factory is expected to run for 70 years, impacting multiple generations.

Following the petition, the provincial Department of Natural Resources and Environment has tasked an official with collecting water samples for evaluation.

 

However, the official said he could only analyze basic contents such as chemical oxygen demand (COD), nitrate, nitrite, and others.

According to Nguyen Thanh Tung, chairman of the administration in Mai Dam Town, where the Lee & Man plant is located, the provincial Center for Rural Water Supply and Sanitation is reviewing measures to provide clean water for the affected residents.

“Regarding the relocation, there has not been any update from higher authorities,” Tung continued.

In a document sent to the Mai Dam People’s Committee on Monday, Lee & Man confirmed that the smell was released after the plant removed covers from its paper residue storage.

The company promised to resolve the problem by Friday this week.

The Lee & Man mill, a US$1.2 billion project developed by Hong Kong’s Lee & Man Paper, began its trial in December 2016, but was asked to cease operations just one month later for inspections to be carried out on its environmental safety standards.

It obtained permission for another six-month trial run beginning on March 7. 

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