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Garbage piles high in Hanoi while waste-to-energy projects remain stalled

Garbage piles high in Hanoi while waste-to-energy projects remain stalled

Tuesday, July 26, 2022, 18:36 GMT+7
Garbage piles high in Hanoi while waste-to-energy projects remain stalled
A waste-to-energy plant project is overgrown with weeds in Viet Hung Commune, Dong Anh District, Hanoi. Photo: Q.The / Tuoi Tre

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.

Behind schedule

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 investment of VND7.1 trillion ($304.6 million) lags behind schedule. Photo: M.Thang / Tuoi Tre

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.

Phu Quoc mired in garbage crisis

Phu Quoc Island off the coast of Kien Giang Province in the Mekong Delta region is also facing issues with waste treatment.

The island city discharges some 180 metric tons of garbage each day.

A landfill in Cua Can Commune, Phu Quoc City. Photo: C.Hanh / Tuoi Tre

A landfill in Cua Can Commune, Phu Quoc City. Photo: C.Hanh / Tuoi Tre

Over two years ago, a leader of Kien Giang Province promised to call for investment in a modern waste treatment plant so as to meet the development demand of Phu Quoc over the next 10-20 years.

However, the project remains lip service and more than 100,000 metric tons of garbage in the city has piled up in landfills in Cua Duong Commune.

Leachate from these landfills has polluted nearby rivers and streams.

Earlier, Phu Quoc had used a waste treatment plant in Bai Bon Hamlet, Ham Ninh Commune; however, the plant failed to operate at its designed capacity, resulting in waste backlogs, so local authorities asked the plant operator to cease its operations.

The Kien Giang People’s Committee later took back the project.

In populous areas, such as Duong Dong Ward, coastal areas, the An Thoi fishing village, and areas along key roads, garbage has polluted the natural environment, according to the Vietnam Institute for Urban and Rural Planning under the Ministry of Construction.

Vo Chi Si, head of the urban management division of Phu Quoc City, said the management authority of Phu Quoc Economic Zone and provincial authorities are calling for investment in a waste treatment project in Phu Quoc with a capacity of 200 metric tons per day.

In addition, the waste treatment plant in Bai Bon is being operated on a trial basis.

Once it is completed, garbage will be transported to the plant for treatment.

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Thanh Ha - Le Phan / Tuoi Tre News

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