Southern environment police on Thursday caught a man carrying four tons of tanning waste to a firm in Ho Chi Minh City that has been using the material to make animal feed.
Driver Nguyen Ngoc Thang, 32, told police he had made 12 similar trips since last month, carrying waste from leather manufacturer Hao Duong, Ltd. in Nha Be District to Le Phu Production and Commerce, Ltd. in Binh Chanh District.
Thang said he was hired to do so by a man named Phuong.
Police said they found around seven tons of tanning waste unprocessed at Le Phu Company and nearly 15 tons of processed materials, not including material being aired.
Le Van Tam, director of Le Phu Company, said his company has made animal feed from tanning waste since last year. The waste is steamed at 140 degrees Celsius, then aired, dried and mixed with several substances to become animal feed, Tam said.
He said the company sold 50 tons of animal feed for VND9 million each every month. It bought tanning waste at VND850,000 a ton.
Police have taken seven samples of tanning waste from Le Phu Company for testing and have orderd the company to halt all sales pending further notice.
A police officer named Cu Nam Tien said the company was not authorized to treat tanning waste.
Such tanning waste is considered a dangerous health hazard. During the hide-tanning process, the cattle skin is soaked in acid and other solutions that contain heavy metals such as mercury and chromium that can cause cancer, Tien said.