Police in Dong Nai Province have started investigating the massive illegal dumping of industrial waste in the middle of a forest which local residents say has been going on for years and told the media about it.
A local man, 50, only identified as N.V.R., told Thanh Nien that trucks have been dumping untreated waste in Vinh Cuu District for more than five years.
The waste has now grown into a 10-hectare dump, he said.
During a recent visit, Thanh Nien found the site was heavy with the smell of burned waste and the foul odor of chemicals and acid in several holes around 10 meters deep.
The trees around the holes were all dead.
N.V.R., who came to Thanh Nien after he and his family did their own investigation, said sometimes the waste burns for days.
“There are all kinds, from cloth and footwear to chemicals. The authorities would come once in a while to check, but then the waste would keep returning. It’s suffocating here.”
He said trucks come from two major industrial zones, Nhon Trach and Bien Hoa, usually at around 8 p.m. or between 2 a.m and 4 a.m and dump the waste.
He said he followed one of the trucks to the Nhon Trach Industrial Zone two months ago and managed to get a job as a truck driver just to lay his hands on some of the chemical waste.
He took the waste to local authorities, but has not received any response.
A month-long investigation by Thanh Nien confirmed R.’s statements.
Some motorbikes would come ahead to make sure there was no one around, and the dumping would be completed in 10-15 minutes.
The Dong Nai police began an investigation after Thanh Nien contacted them last week, and since then almost no dumping has been taking place.
But they arrested one truck driver on Wednesday when he was dumping 4.35 tons of cloth and leather waste, which he said was collected from companies in neighboring Binh Duong Province.
“The dumping gang has lookouts everywhere,” a local resident said. “When they suspect the police or the media are onto this, they stop everything.”