Garbage has spent the past year piling up along streets in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi due to overloaded landfills while waste-to-energy plant projects, many of which have received huge investments, have been behind schedule.
The city produces 6,500-7,000 metric tons of garbage each day, most of which is treated at the Nam Son and Xuan Son landfills in Son Tay Town and Soc Son District, respectively, according to the municipal Department of Natural Resources and Environment.
The two landfills have respective capacities of 5,000-5,500 and 1,500 metric tons of waste every 24 hours, and both are currently filled to capacity.
The Hanoi People’s Committee has urged investors to accelerate progress on waste treatment plant projects, including the Soc Son waste-to-energy plant in Soc Son District, the Seraphin waste-to-energy plant in Son Tay Town, and the Dong Ke and Nui Thoong waste treatment plants in Chuong My District.
The expected daily capacities of these plants are 4,000, 1,500, 1,500, and 450 metric tons, respectively.
All of these projects are currently behind schedule.
The Soc Son waste-to-energy plant project operated by Hanoi Thien Y Environmental Energy Joint Stock Company, broke ground in August 2019 with an initial investment of VND7.1 trillion (US$304.6 million) and was expected to be put into operation in October 2020 but that deadline was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Investors have blamed the lack of progress on the other waste-to-energy plants on decisions to scale them up.
In 2014, the Hanoi People’s Committee issued an investment certificate to the Nui Thoong waste treatment plant project in Tan Tien Commune, Chuong My District, which was expected be capable of treating 500 metric tons of garbage daily.
|The Soc Son waste-to-energy plant project requiring an estimated price tag of VND7.1 trillion ($304.6 million) lags behind schedule. Photo: M.Thang / Tuoi Tre|
Ten hectares of land was handed over for the project.
However, the investor later suggested raising its designed capacity to 2,000 metric tons daily.
The project appears to have totally stalled while the investor is awaiting approval.
Similarly, a waste-to-energy plant project which broke ground in 2016 in Viet Hung Commune, Dong Anh District was initially slated to come on stream in April 2017 with a capacity of 500 metric tons of garbage per day and night.
The site is currently overgrown with weeds.
Residents living in the vicinity of the unfinished plant have complained to local authorities that the site seems abandoned – a slap in the face to the local farmers whose land was appropriated for the project.
Drastic measures needed
Nguyen Huu Sang, chairman of the People’s Committee of Viet Hung Commune, confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the waste-to-energy plant project in the commune remained incomplete.
The commune intends to continue urging the People’s Committees of Dong Anh District and Hanoi to ask the investor to put it to use.
Leaders of the Hanoi People’s Committee said that they hope to speed up progress on the waste treatment projects.
The capital city will assign the Department of Planning and Investment to review long-delayed projects and the capability of their investors.
If they fail to ensure the progress of their projects, their investment certificates will be revoked and private or public funds will be used for their completion, the city added.
To remove obstacles facing waste-to-energy projects, the Hanoi administration has sought coordination from the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Vietnam Electricity Group in order to hasten the connection of the Soc Son waste-powered electricity plant to the national grid.
As for the Nui Thoong waste treatment plant project, director of the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment Do Anh Tuan attributed the slow progress to sluggish site clearance.
Moreover, the investor has proposed scaling up the project but the proposal was not in line with the central government’s general waste management planning.
The Department of Planning and Investment has suggested that the Hanoi People’s Committee consider adjusting its plan.