Da Nang industrial park caught in toxic pollution scandal

By Hoang Son, Thanh Nien News

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The waste treatment reservoir of an industrial park in Da Nang, which locals have accused of doing a poor job. Photo: Hoang Son/Thanh Nien The waste treatment reservoir of an industrial park in Da Nang, which locals have accused of doing a poor job. Photo: Hoang Son/Thanh Nien

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More than 150 people in Da Nang gathered on Wednesday in front of a local industrial park, accusing it of polluting their river, killing fish and making many locals sick. 
Many said waste discharge from Lien Chieu Industrial Park in the namesake district has been "a nightmare." The park, opened in 1998, now houses many rubber, metallurgy and packaging companies. 
The waste from the park creates an unbearable odor around midnight every day and many locals cannot sleep at all.
Some blame the pollution for their health conditions.
“There has been an increase of people getting cancer around here. Does it have anything to do with the pollution?” Pham Ba Duong, a 67-year-old with colorectal cancer, said.
Duong said the authorities should conduct an investigation to conclude the impacts of the discharge, and force the park to fix its waste treatment system.
Another local said the Cau Trang River, which the discharge has been dumped into, “has no fish left.”
 People express anger about pollution that they say is caused by an industrial park at a meeting with Da Nang officials June 1, 2016. Photo: Hoang Son/Thanh Nien
The park has a waste treatment plant but a manager admitted that the facility has been overloaded on certain days and “cannot guarantee treatment quality.”
The manager told a meeting with the locals and Da Nang officials on Wednesday that the treatment facility started operating in July 2009 and was designed to handle around 600-700 cubic meters of sewage a day. But there were days when it had to treat 1,000 cubic meters, he said.
Ho Truong Thanh Hai, deputy director of the Saigon-Da Nang Investment JSC, the developer of the industrial park, said the company is building another waste treatment plant. It is scheduled for operation in January 2017.
Nguyen Ngoc Tuan, vice chairman of Da Nang People's Committee, has ordered the city's environment department to carry out an inspection by June 15.

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